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  • James Tignanelli – POAM President
  • Frank Guido – POAM General Counsel
  • Gordana Misovski – POAM Assistant General Counsel

Social Media Usage A Slippery Slope


In this episode of the POAM Podcast, we’re talking about social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat. Why is social such a big problem for law enforcement and something employees and our members need to be cognizant of? Police and fire employees are scrutinized on and off duty at a rate that’s higher than other individuals. Social media, for our members, is a risk. It’s a slippery slope and it’s dangerous stuff.

Anything you post on those is now available to people socially. You cannot have an expectation for privacy these days. Once you hit send on something, whether it’s a text or a Tweet, it’s public.

What If I Delete My Post?

Can you truly delete a posting on Facebook? The best answer there is no. In the time you make a status update, send a message, or make a comment and then decide it wasn’t a good idea and delete it, someone can take a screenshot of your comment or status and share that anywhere they want.

Don’t I Have First Amendment Freedom of Speech Protection?

In a moment of passion it’s easy to write something that 24 hours later, or even 2 minutes later, you regret. While you may believe that anything you say has a first amendment protection, which is a tremendous right, there’s a distinction between the government as a sovereign and government as an employer. While employees certainly have first amendment protections, they can lose that protection. For example, in Case Law the speech is scrutinized to see if it falls under first amendment protection or not.

“The moment you expose yourself on social media, you put yourself at risk.” – Frank Guido, POAM General Counsel

To learn more about social media protections and risks, click the podcast link or video above.

You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook to learn more, as well. Please Tweet us your questions, comments and concerns and we’ll address those too!


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