Has Social Media Taken Away Free Speech?


We hear about these stories all of the time. A person has a bad experience and they share it on a social media website like Facebook or Twitter or even write a blog.

But what happens when someone doesn’t like what you said and sues you.

That’s what’s going on in Oregon, where a pastor is reportedly suing Julie Smith and her daughter for $500,000 after the two blogged about the church and described it as "cult-like."

The Pastor of the church claims reviews on a blog started by former church member amounts to defamation.


The former church member wrote on her blog:

-) She described the Pastor and his church outside as "creepy" and "cult-like."

-) She described him calling for church elders to search closets of female congregants for clothes that are too revealing.


After being shunned by community members after leaving the church a few years ago. The former member said she then began writing Google and DEX reviews of the church as well as a blog. 

Julie Smith’s defense: "I thought, I'm just going to post a review," Smith said. "We do it with restaurants and hotels and whatnot, and I thought, why not do it with this church?"

Smith says the online reviews and blog are protected under the right to free speech.

The Pastor sees it a different way. He claims in his lawsuit that Smith's use of words like "creepy," "cult," "control tactics," and "spiritual abuse," are defamation.

  • Has social media destroyed our FREE speech. Before social media if you had a bad experience you’d either tell your friends or write an editorial to the paper right? People didn’t get sued for telling others, why does it make it different on social media websites? Or does the Pastor have a case?