The following is an excerpt from Joanna Stern | August 9, 2012 | abcnews.go.com |
Back in April, a U.S. District Judge ruled that hitting the Facebook “Like” button wasn’t protected under the First Amendment. You know, the one that ensures our freedom of speech.
The case involved six employees who worked for Sheriff B.J. Roberts in Hampton, Virginia. In 2009, Roberts was running for reelection and one of the six — Daniel Ray Carter — “liked” Robert’s opponent on Facebook. After the election, the Sheriff fired Carter and the others. The employees brought the case to court, but the judge threw out the case, ruling that clicking one “like” wasn’t protected by the First Amendment.
However, Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union are on the case now. Both have filed their own friend-of-the-court, or Amicus Curiae, briefs in appeal of the judge’s ruling.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to express their thoughts and opinions in whatever form they choose to do so, whether it’s speaking on a street corner, holding up a sign, or pressing a button on Facebook to say that you ‘Like’ something,” ACLU attorney Aden Fine said in a comment.
“Whether someone presses a ‘Like’ button to express those thoughts or presses the buttons on a keyboard to write out those words, the end result is the same: one is telling the world about one’s personal beliefs, interests, and opinions. That is exactly what the First Amendment protects, however that information is conveyed,” says the ACLU brief. The entire ACLU brief can be read here.
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