MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - If you're a city worker, be careful what you post online. Hitting the send button could cost you your job. The city of Memphis now has a new social networking policy. It outlines what workers can and cannot post on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Rule number one: don't write bad things about the city or post anything that puts Memphis in a negative light. University of Memphis Law Professor Steve Mulroy said the new policy violates the first amendment.
"When they say you can't say disparaging remarks about the city or city government that's a basic first amendment right violation,” said Mulroy.
Mulroy believes the city's new policy dictating what employees can and can't post online walks a problematic tight-rope.
"Some of the language is so broad and vague people don't know when they've crossed the line or not and the easier thing to do is take down their Facebook page, which is a shame," he said.
Memphis City Human Resource Director Quintin Robinson said the policy simply serves as a "guideline" to help employees avoid legal trouble.
"The policy was not intended, is not intended, and will not restrict free speech and expression of reasonable opinions,” Robinson said.
Mulroy said that's the problem.
"That's what courts would call a chilling effect on speech."
A number of city workers have already taken the safe approach and took their social networking pages down completely to avoid the risk of losing their jobs. Other cities like Horn Lake, Mississippi have implemented similar online policies.