Court rules Facebook ‘like’ button just as protected as written speech

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If you click “like” on a Facebook post, does your click constitute “speech” that is just as protected as written speech? The answer is yes, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said in overturning the lower court’s ruling.

The lower court ruled that a Facebook “like” is “insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection,” Ars Technica reported.


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In the case known as Bland et al v. Roberts, a deputy sheriff from Hampton, Va., claimed that he was fired for Facebook “likes” made in favor of his boss’ political opponent.

Circuit Court Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr.’s decision read in part, Ars Technica reported: “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. In the context of a political campaign’s Facebook page, the meaning that the user approves of the candidacy whose page is being liked is unmistakable.”

The case “will now be sent back to the lower court and could pave the way for the former deputies to get their old jobs back,” the technology website said.

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