Appeals Court Says Facebook ‘Likes’ Are Protected Speech-National Law Journal

Mike Scarcella:

In the Internet arena, “liking” a Facebook page is protected speech that’s equivalent to sticking a political campaign sign in your front yard, a federal appeals court in Virginia said Wednesday in a closely watched First Amendment retaliation case.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a trial judge who concluded that the act of “liking” a Facebook page does not come with constitutional protection. The appeals court revived certain claims in a suit against a Virginia sheriff who didn’t reappoint a group of employees who supported a rival candidate for office.

“On the most basic level, clicking on the ‘like’ button literally causes to be published the statement that the user ‘likes’ something, which is itself a substantive statement,” Chief Judge William Traxler Jr. wrote in the Fourth Circuit ruling. “Aside from the fact that liking the Campaign Page constituted pure speech, it also was symbolic expression.”

Read more: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202619788091&Appeals_Court_Says_Facebook_Likes_Are_Protected_Speech#ixzz2fMe1kmRg

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