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Georgia Natural Resources Agency Seeks To “Moderate” Social Media Content |


A titanium mine project near Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has met with strong opposition.

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

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

The agency’s board was informed on Tuesday of a proposed rule-making 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 topic of the social media post or containing 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 said does not violate Americans’ constitutional right to free speech. .

“People are worried about the First Amendment,” Kate Iannuzzi, DNR deputy executive adviser, told board members on Tuesday. “What we are doing is specifically authorized by the First Amendment. … All we try 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 MRN to want to limit the content it allows on social networks.

But the agency tends to draw intense criticism on issues that fall within its purview. Most recently, 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 Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

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

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

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