Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 18, 2013

Court: Clicking ’Like’ on Facebook is free speech

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court says clicking “Like” on Facebook is constitutionally protected free speech.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Wednesday that liking a political candidate’s campaign page is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in your front yard.

Exactly what a “like” means — if anything — played a part in a case in Virginia involving six people who say Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts fired them for supporting an opponent in his 2009 re-election bid.

One of the workers ‘liked’ the Facebook page of Roberts’ opponent.

The appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that said merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page was insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. 

Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union had both filed friend of the court briefs.


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