EXPERTS IN THE NEWS: Tempests at Facebook, Nibbia Holds, and Mindfulness


Why Facebook’s censorship problem many not get any better any time soon I The Washington Post

Facebook will never please everyone, experts said. Mary Anne Franks, professor at the University of Miami School of Law, said that Facebook and its users should not get wrapped up in how a private company running a free service deals with the First Amendment.

Sammy Watkins pays relative’s bond in Lake Boyz case but defendant remains jailed I Fort Myers News-Press

The bond was paid by 23-year-old Watkins on May 4. The elder McMiller said his son even posed for pictures with star-struck deputies. A hearing was held May 9 to determine the source of the money. In this case, the judge has to determine the money isn't from any proceeds related to gang activity.

It isn't necessary for the person who is paying the bond to appear in court, said University of Miami law professor Tamara Lave. All that is needed is proof of where the money comes from, she said.

A Campus Murder Tests Facebook Clicks as Evidence of Hate I WIRED

Still, while they may be unable to change the way the law works, they can still pressure companies like Facebook to more aggressively monitor hateful content on their platforms. “It raises the question of why Facebook allows groups like this to exist,” says Mary Anne Franks, who teaches criminal law at the University of Miami School of Law. “You can’t blame a Facebook group for the acts of one probably unhinged person, but what possible benefit does a group like this actually serve?”

Mindfulness is suddenly in our apps, classrooms, gyms and offices. Does it work? I Miami Herald

“We know the practice of mindfulness is associated with functional and structural changes to the regions of the brain that are connected to focus and concentration and regulation of emotion,” says Scott Rogers, founder and director of the Mindfulness and Law Program at the University of Miami School of Law. “That’s pretty startling. The structure of your brain changes. When I was in college, that was not recognized as even possible.”

Facebook’s revenge port policy doesn’t technically include victims of the Marines United scandal I Mic

But the surreptitious nature of the Marines United Facebook group contradicts this definition, according to Mary Anne Franks, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law and the legislative and tech policy director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

"The fact that membership was restricted to male Marines and that the group’s members went to great lengths to try to keep their activity secret demonstrates that they did not want their victims to learn about the conduct, which means in turn that they were not intending to 'shame or embarrass' the women exposed," Franks explained in an email.

Leaked Guidelines Highlight Facebook’s Challenges Policing Nudity in Art I Artsy

But Facebook is not obliged to publish naked art nor are users entitled to post it, notes Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami law professor and vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, since Facebook, as a private company, is not bound by First Amendment principles. A more useful question, she says, is to ask whether the company is living up to its aim to create a safe and supportive global community, and whether their policies produce that outcome.

CONTACT: Catharine Skipp at 305-284-9810 or