South Bend Common Council Passes Social Media Ordinance

Social Media

The South Bend Common Council approved an ordinance at Monday night’s council meeting that regulates the conduct of its members on social media.

A few minor changes were made to the proposal prior to its passage.

The ordinance would prohibit the posting of “obscene” images or videos on social media accounts. Offenders who violate the ordinance would be subject to a council reprimand, removal of city-owned technology privileges, or a ban from posting on the Council’s Facebook account.

The modified ordinance removed the ambiguous and broad “offensive” category and struck language that would have extended its regulations to privately-owned technology. Other changes include removal of language requiring councilmembers to monitor their social media pages and a requirement that posts be “based on sustainable facts which can be verified.”

The ordinance still covers councilmembers’ privately-run social media accounts.

The final vote was 6-2 in favor of the ordinance. The two dissenting members were Henry Davis Jr. and Council President Oliver Davis. Councilwoman Valerie Schey was absent.

Oliver Davis has expressed concerns over the constitutionality of the ordinance.

The ordinance has come under attack from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for what the group contends are unconstitutional restrictions on free speech. It threatened to file a lawsuit against the city if the proposed ordinance became law.

South Bend Voice has reached out to the ACLU for comment. They have not responded as of the time of publication.

The full text of the modified ordinance is below:

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