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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Facebook: Should "Like" Button Be Protected as Free Speech?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge Who ever thought a thumbs up sign would be so controversial?
  • Who ever thought a thumbs up sign would be so controversial?
We've all seen the Facebook profiles supporting political candidates, the pages for protest, and the mass events that have been organized through this giant social network. Facebook has certainly made its mark on the political scene. Now, the Bay Area-based company wants a constitutional voice.

Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union are fighting to make the "Like" button a form of protected speech.

That means all your dogs, hamsters, and alter egos will have an online voice -- constitutionally.

Facebook's Attorneys and the ACLU filed friend of the court briefs this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, according to the Chron.

However, some problems could arise given the recent report of Facebook phonies who leave fake "likes" on pages.

Initially, the case was brought to court because Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts fired six employees after they "liked" the Facebook page of Roberts' opponent in the 2009 re-election bid. The said "likers" sued on the grounds that their First Amendment rights were violated.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson ruled that the "Like" button didn't support their claim to First Amendment rights.

Now, the workers are appealing.


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Suzanne Stathatos

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