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Should the First Amendment Cover Free Speech On Social Media?

A Lehigh Valley man is at the center of a debate that has people talking. Should you be able to post whatever you want on social media? Anthony Elonis of the Be...

A Lehigh Valley man is at the center of a debate that has people talking.

Should you be able to post whatever you want on social media?

Anthony Elonis of the Bethlehem area was convicted of making threats after prosecutors say his posts on Facebook in 2010 violated federal law.

Some of the posts you see here are what the United States Supreme Court is now reviewing to see if it counts as free speech.

"I see this as less of a social media case as a regular first amendment free speech case. Just like ones that existed before Facebook ever existed," Civil Rights attorney Barry Dyller said.

Among the Facebook posts by Elonis was this apparent message to his ex-wife: "Fold up your PFA and put it in your pocket. Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?"

He now says he posted rap lyrics because it was a therapeutic way to address traumatic events in his life.

A federal appeals court rejected his claim, and now it's in the hands of the United States Supreme Court.

"For each of us individually as a society, we want free, robust and open speech," Dyller said.

At the Luzerne County courthouse detectives say there have been a few cases this year that they have investigated on social media.

They want people to know that posting threats online can be a crime.

"People think that their Facebook, they have a right to say whatever they want, and they do. They're right. But, they have to keep in mind within reason without making threats or stalking or harassing someone," Luzerne County detective, Chaz Balogh said.

Students at Wilkes University agree that those posting threats on Facebook should be held accountable.

"Whether it be online on social media or in person, they need to be taken seriously. If someone is threatening someone with violence it really is no joke," Nathan Franklin said.

There is no timeline to when the United States Supreme Court will make a ruling.