U.S. Court Says ‘liking’ Something on Facebook is Free Speech

Posted at 10:31 AM, Sep 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-19 10:31:21-04

new facebook layout(CNN) — A U.S. court of appeals gave Facebook a thumbs up on Wednesday when it ruled that “likes” on the social network are protected as free speech under the Constitution.

In 2009, six employees at the Hampton Sheriff’s Office in Virginia lost their jobs after expressing support for their boss’ opponent in an upcoming election for sheriff, some by liking and commenting on the opponent’s Facebook page.

U.S. Circuit Judge William Traxler found that “liking” something on the social network was the “Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard,” an act the Supreme Court has already ruled as protected speech.

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