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In an October 1, 2022 article in Western City, Best Best & Krieger LLP Associate Albert Maldonado discusses legal parameters to consider for cities and public officials using social media.
Increasingly, cities’ social media accounts are becoming the main source for news, information and interaction between residents and public officials. The passage of AB 992 in January 2021 is the latest evolution of the Brown Act, intended to clarify what public officials can and cannot do on social media. Maldonado notes, “The genesis of [AB 992] is to encourage public officials to use social media to get the opinion of their constituents to better inform their decisions,” he said. “It’s not meant to be a restrictive bill: It’s meant to be a tool for people to use social media.”

Though there is no case law further defining these new parameters, Maldonado noted, “vertical communication between elected officials and their constituents and vice versa is generally permitted. Horizontal communication, or communication between elected officials, when done on social media that is publicly accessible is generally not permitted anymore.”

The Western City article is available in its entirety here.

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