Facebook neighbor site threatened with suit - WSMV Channel 4

Facebook neighbor site threatened with suit

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FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) -

A woman in Franklin started a Facebook page that has raised some controversial free speech issues. Susan Rowe is being threatened with legal action unless she removes the name "Maplewood" from her social media page.

Maplewood subdivision is a quiet neighborhood of leafy streets and picturesque community gathering spots.

Two years ago, Rowe started a Facebook page where neighbors post things like notices of missing cats or folks asking if they can borrow a pressure washer.

"A lot of teenage kids will pet-sit, or babysit, so it's been a wonderful resource," Rowe says.

In November, the official homeowner's association warned her not to call the page "Maplewood Subdivision," so she changed it to "Residents of Maplewood." That brought a letter on March 24 from a lawyer warning her that if she continued to use the word "Maplewood," the homeowner's association would be forced to pursue legal action.

"When I received the letter in the mail, I just felt very bullied," Rowe says.

"I spent six years in the military. I did my time. So I should be able to speak freely," says Chad Rowe, Susan's husband.

The Maplewood Homeowner's Association hired attorney Robert Notestine.

"I don't think there's an attempt to censor what she has on that site, merely, they didn't want to cause confusion over the association's site and something else called Maplewood," Notestine says.

But there's an undercurrent here; Susan Rowe say the homeowners' association admitted to her they wanted to be able to control the information.

"They wanted me to turn the Facebook page over to them, so they could monitor the activity and delete any posts," Rowe says.

Notestine admits there's concern that negative postings could affect real estate values.

Susan Rowe says people who are thinking of buying homes in Maplewood wouldn't be able to access the Facebook page in the first place; it's a private site that the public can't even see unless they're invited.

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