Elonis vs. United States

In the Elonis v. United States supreme court case, the issue of what constituted as freedom of expression on social media and what constituted as a threat was examined. In the case a man repeatedly posted violent lyrics under pseudonym onto Facebook, stating his desire to kill his estranged wife and several others. In the case Elonis argued that the posts were artistic license that he did not intend as threats, and that these types of statements were common in rap music. The lower court of Pennsylvania held that the metric for whether or not a statement should be judged as a threat is not intent, but rather whether a reasonable person would interpret it as a threat. The Supreme Court reversed this decision and focused primarily on intent rather than freedom of speech issues. The final verdict was that a conviction for making a threat requires more proof than just reasonable people interpreting statements as threats. For more information on this case please click here.