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.”
- Facebook ‘Like’ Protected By First Amendment, Appeals Court Rules(huffingtonpost.com)
- “Liking” a Facebook Page Is Presumptively Protected Speech (volokh.com)
- Facebook ‘Like’ is Protected Speech, Appeals Court Says(about.bloomberglaw.com)
- Facebook ‘Like’ Is Protected Speech, Appeals Court Says (bloomberg.com)
- Facebook ‘Like’ Entitled to First Amendment Protection, Appeals Court Rules (usnews.com)
- Facebook “Like” Feature Is Protected Speech under the U.S. Constitution(readingbyeugene.com)
- Appeals court rules that Facebook ‘Likes’ are protected as free speech(theverge.com)
- Court rules Facebook ‘like’ is free speech (politico.com)
- Court: Facebook ‘liking’ is free speech (cnn.com)
- Facebook ‘Likes’ protected by US Constitution (telegraph.co.uk)