Judge Rules Facebook Like Isn’t Free Speech

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When Daniel Ray Carter clicked the “Like” button on the Facebook page of his boss’s political opponent, I very much doubt that he expected it to end in his termination. Yet that’s exactly what happened. Carter, an employee of Hampton, Virginia Sheriff B.J. Roberts, “liked’ the Facebook page of Jim Adams, the man running against Roberts, and was fired for it. Judge Raymond Jackson ruled that liking a Facebook page does not fall into the realm of freedom of speech and therefore is not protected by the first amendment.

The social network has come up in free speech debates before and courts have found that Facebook posts are indeed protected speech, but Jackson argues that Facebook posts contain an actual statement, whereas simple “likes” do not. The ACLU has criticized the ruling, saying that “just because the Internet and social media tools are new, that does not mean they should be treated differently from more traditional forms of communication.”

The thing that I find the most absurd about Roberts’s ruling is his comment about Facebook posts being more legitimate for containing actual statements. So clicking “like” isn’t protected speech while posting “I like this,” which is for all intents and purposes the same thing, does fall under the protection of the first amendment?

via The Verge

 

About

Dylan Duarte is a freelance writer who's covered videogames, film, television, and now tech! Be sure to check out his site, Dylan Reviews Everything, and follow him on Twitter: @dylanduarte.

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