If you are on social media, you know that discussions can get heated. In fact, many people avoid the comments sections because the opinions others post are so upsetting to them. The format seems to give you more freedom to express ideas more emphatically than you might ever do in real life. However, posts and comments on these sites may soon have consequences.
According to Fox 13 News, Senate Bill 1850 would make it a second-degree felony for social media users to post a threat online.
The current statute
Florida already has a law that makes it illegal to write and send letters, emails and other electronic messages that include a death threat or a threat of harm, or an intent to perform a terrorist act or mass shooting. So, if you include violent language in a text or direct message rather than in the post itself, you could find yourself the subject of an investigation with the potential for criminal charges.
The penalty for this offense is up to 15 years in prison, fines as high as $10,000 or a combination of a prison sentence and fines.
It may seem as if adding social media posts to the current law would be a small addition based on what is already there. However, it could make a big impact on what you see posted online in the future.
The consequences of written threats have the potential to become significant, and words in the heat of passion could cause trouble when you write them. If someone accuses you of this offense, take it seriously.