Wright State University: Facebook Comments Restricted During Faculty Union Strike

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: Wright State University

After a January 2019 faculty strike by the Wright State University branch of the American Association of University Professors, FIRE issued a public records request to WSU for particular Facebook comment threads relating to the strike. In the hundreds of pages of HTML code that we received, FIRE discovered that WSU often censored posts unfavorable to WSU’s positions on the strike. These posts were censored pursuant to WSU’s vague social media guidelines, which allowed administrators to remove posts they viewed as,  among other things, “propaganda,” “foul,” “trolling,” “offensive,” or “inflammatory” — giving them unfettered discretion to delete posts contrary to the administration’s views. On January 23, 2020, FIRE wrote to WSU to bring public attention to WSU’s censorship and request that WSU rescind its unconstitutional social media guidelines.