Located in Tennessee, South Pittsburg city leaders said criticisms of the city have downplayed and hampered their work. As a result, they’ve elected to adopt a new policy that punishes anyone associated with the city who posts negative comments about South Pittsburg on social media, as reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The new policy, according to city commissioner Jeff Powers, applies to city elected representatives, appointed board members, volunteers, employees, vendors, and contractors. “It seems like every few meetings we’re having to address something that’s been on Facebook and created negative publicity,” said Powers. “This is just an industry standard nowadays.”
While it isn’t known what punishment awaits city employees if they do post something negative about South Pittsburg, Powers reassured everyone that the policy doesn’t ban the use of social media entirely. “The first thing everyone wants to say is ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook,'” said Powers. “Well, you can. Just not (anything) that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board, or things of that nature. You can go ahead and post all you want.”
Out of the five who voted on the policy, commissioner Paul Don King was the sole person who voted against it, though he understands both sides of the argument. “But what we are trying to say is that if I’m a city employee, you’re trying to tell me what I can say at night,” he said. “I call that freedom of speech. I can’t understand that.”
While it’s much easier to simply ban any criticism rather than weed out the lies from the truths, this new policy gives a cold shoulder to legitimate criticisms residents might make. Unfortunately, with various hotels having adopted such a policy, this is become a rather depressing trend.