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Georgia DNR seeks to ‘moderate’ social media content


ATLANTA — Advocates of civil discourse in public policy debates have long lamented the proliferation of profanity and other negative commentary on social media sites.

This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

Now the Georgian Ministry of Natural Resources (DNR) is trying to do something to clean up its social media accounts.

The agency’s board was briefed Tuesday on proposed rules establishing guidelines for the “moderation” of comments posted on its third-party social media websites.

The rule would allow the DNR to remove comments unrelated to the subject of the social media post or that contain profanity.

By subjecting social media posts to such scrutiny, the agency would create a “limited public forum,” a concept the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled does not violate Americans’ constitutional right to free speech. .

“People are worried about the First Amendment,” Kate Iannuzzi, the DNR’s deputy executive adviser, told council members on Tuesday. “What we are doing is specifically authorized by the First Amendment. … All we’re trying to do is keep [social media posts] on the subject and ask people not to use profanity.

The proposed rule does not indicate what prompted the DNR to want to limit the content it allows on social media.

But the agency tends to draw strong criticism on issues that fall within its purview. Lately, these include Georgia Power’s plans to leave coal ash in place from some of its closed ash ponds and a proposed titanium mine near the Okefenokee National Nature Preserve.

The Natural Resources Council is due to vote on the rule at its next meeting on Oct. 26.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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