BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Controversy over the governor’s official facebook page. He uses it to communicate with Marylanders, but hundreds have been blocked. The ACLU says that’s censorship and that’s wrong.
George Solis with how the group is taking action. The ACLU has written a letter to the governor saying the blocking or banning of people’s comments is not only wrong, but also illegal.
Governor Larry Hogan’s official facebook page remains under fire, as allegations mount from some people who wished to connect with the man in charge, but instead got blocked from the page for expressing their opinions.
Earlier this month, the governor responded to the accusations of censorship.
“Many of the people there are putting hateful, rude, you know profane, death threats, racist comments and sometimes just repetitively spamming,” he says.
“We’re going to continue the same process, we’ve always done and we’re not going to changing anything.”
It’s a major concern for people like Allison Heintz.
Heintz tells WJZ she was banned for commenting on a story the governor posted about his progress in the state.
“I was angry,” she says.
“I find it insulting to be called a spammer or an anarchist, I’m just a constituent that has concerns.”
The ACLU is also now involved, representing Heintz and six others with similar stories and proof that comments were deleted.
The civil rights group tells WJZ this is now an issue of free speech.
David Rocah with the ACLU says what the governor is doing is considered unconstitutional.
“It is because the governor is acting in his official capacity, not as a private citizen,” he says.
The ACLU says over the last two years they’ve uncovered hundreds who have been unlawfully banned from speaking their minds on the governor’s official page.
ACLU officials tell WJZ that until everyone that’s either been blocked or banned is allowed to comment once more, they will not let up.
The logical next step would be a lawsuit.
People like Heintz say it’s a step they’re willing to take to make sure they’re not being censored.
“I can clearly see that he doesn’t care about my viewpoint,” says Heintz.
The governor’s office has issued a statement to WJZ tonight saying they have reinstated the six of the seven people that were “inadvertently denied access.”
The ACLU is requesting a full review of the hundreds of cases of people who’ve been blocked from the facebook page.