Facebook “Like” is Protected Free Speech
The Fourth Circuit has ruled that clicking Like on Facebook is protected Free Speech in a case where someone “liked” an election candidate. The case was filed by a fired sheriff’s employee who was let go after showing support for the sheriff’s election opponent by liking the opponent’s campaign page on Facebook.
The district court had ruled that a mere click was insufficient speech to merit Free Speech protections and that one had to actually comment for the protection to kick in. But the appeals court unanimously disagreed. “Liking” the campaign page, the court said, was the “Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech.”
The case is Bland v. Roberts, 12-1671, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.