You may recall that we recently reiterated a UT System request for UT institutions to review their policies and practices to ensure that we were not banning nor blocking users from our institutional social media sites, nor removing public posts made on our social channels. The courts have determined a governmental body’s Facebook page is a public forum and we cannot delete comments simply because the comments are critical of us or because we do not like them.
SO WHAT's NEW? We had a few instances recently of a site visitor posting a solicitation to several university FB pages (a real estate listing in this example). We checked and were given the green light to hide the posts. We can delete ads like these regardless of the content or views expressed for two reasons (1) As a state agency, we can’t promote/endorse third party entities/products and (2) it violates our social media posting guidelines. So, in the opinion of our legal advisers, regulating this type of post would not be considered to be a violation of First Amendment protections.
If you run into any situation that raises a question for you, please reach out to us
and we'll work to chase down an answer.