Social media has opened new avenues for perpetrators to threaten and intimidate. No longer does someone need to physically stalk their prey to deliver a message; they can now threaten anyone, anywhere with just one click of their cell phone. And because the threatening communications are often prepared in private and can be delivered anonymously, they are not regulated by social norms that would harshly condemn such behavior. Thus, it should come as little surprise that threats are increasing every year and online threats are fueling that growth. This Article considers the challenges facing prosecutors in charging and prosecuting online threats after the Supreme Court's decision in Elonis v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2001 (2015). Social media has radically changed the way we communicate, removing both in-person human interaction and the meaning and intent such interaction conveys. In this Article, we argue that applying the recklessness standard to today's online communications has the unjustified danger of punishing legitimate speech without increasing public safety.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Monagas, Enrique A. and Monagas, Carlos E.
"Prosecuting Threats in the Age of Social Media,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 36:
3, Article 4.
Enrique A. Monagas & Carlos E. Monagas, Prosecuting Threats in the Age of Social Media, 36 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 57 (2016).