The city of Bee Cave will consider a new social media policy following a March 15 Supreme Court ruling, which held that local government officials can now block citizens and delete comments from their personal pages.

The rundown

At an April 9 City Council meeting, Communications Director Jenny Hoff said the new policy would provide guidelines for posting and deleting content from city department and city staff pages.

Mayor Kara King said the idea to create a social media policy was spurred by the Lindke v. Freed Supreme Court case, which defined when posts by local leaders are deemed official matters and when they are considered personal.

The case involved a Michigan city manager who deleted a resident's comments and blocked the user from his personal Facebook page, where he posted about the city's health policies.

The court ruled that so long as a city leader is sharing publicly available information and not claiming to speak in an official state capacity, they are allowed to moderate their personal page as any other private citizen could.

"I wanted to know how this related to us because I have noticed on the city police Facebook page there have been some bots and some spammers commenting," King said. "I would feel really bad if somebody got scammed on one of our city pages."

King said the policy would set a standard for the city to balance the first amendment right of citizens to comment within public forums and the rights of individual city staff to moderate their personal pages to remove illegal activity, spam or profanity.

What's next

Hoff said the new policy could be approved as early as the next council meeting on April 23.

The city is working with other cities with social media guidelines, including Lakeway, for guidance.