Friday, August 5, 2011

Cleveland Mayor Vetoes Social Media Flash Mob Law

Cleveland's Mayor Frank Jackson vetoed an ordinance that would have allegedly prohibited Flash Mobs and Tweet Ups. The law was suppose to put an end to the improper use of social media that was used to violate ordinances on disorderly conduct, public intoxication and unlawful congregation by promoting illegal flash mob activity.

When I first discussed this issue a few weeks ago, I stated that this ordinance was an over-reaction and that the best course of action is to enforce the current laws on the books. The law was vague and clearly violated the First Amendment.

Some jurisdictions are trying to legislate social media usage because they do not understand the medium. I believe that the ACLU's publicity of the ordinance was instrumental in Mayor Jackson's decision to veto the law. Unfortunately, I predict that the ACLU will need to spend a tremendous amount of resources over the next few years to protect our Social Media First Amendment rights.

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at

Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.


  1. Bradley, it always amazes me how many times elected officials' reactions to that which they don't understand is is write new bills without determining whether existing laws already address the problem. This has resulted in a maddening patchwork of local, state and federal laws that are redundant and at times, contradictory. So inefficient.

  2. Jesse, Thank you for contributing to the conversation. Unfortunately, this is the tip of the iceberg and I expect other jurisdictions and entities across the country to try to legislate how we as a society are able to utilize social media. I try to add value by bringing up these issues so common sense eventually prevails.