Facebook’s ‘Like’ Is Now Protected by the Constitution
Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) “Like” function won a major victory Wednesday, when a U.S. Court of Appeals judge ruled that using the “Like” button on the social networking site is an example of free speech protected under the Constitution, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The suit was brought by former employees of a Virginia sheriff’s office who were fired for “Liking” the sheriff’s opponent’s Facebook page. The ruling overturns a previous decision by a lower court that said the “Like” function doesn’t deserve Constitutional protection because doing so only involves one click and therefore doesn’t count as “a substantive statement.” That ruling was widely criticized, Bloomberg pointed out, because other online activities such as donating money to a campaign are also done with just one click.
“Liking a political candidate’s campaign page communicates the user’s approval of the candidate and supports the campaign by associating the user with it,” U.S. Circuit Judge William Traxler wrote. “It is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech.”