Keeping Texas Prisoners Off of Social Media
Texas prison officials are taking increased steps to prevent prisoners in their custody from making posts to social media. In a recent update to the prisoner handbook, prison officials have stated that prisoners are prohibited from using social media. The changes read as follows:
Offenders are prohibited from maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise.
Prison officials believe that this language is necessary in order to get social media providers to more readily comply with take down requests. According to one Texas prison official,
The rule is specific to active social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc…Those companies have mechanisms in place that allow us to request that the pages be deactivated. Private Web pages don’t have a mechanism to request they be taken down and we cannot force them to comply.
Absent a smuggled phone, prisoners generally do not have access to the Internet. However, prisoners relay messages to family members and other friends who subsequently post the information on social media.