Facebook “Likes” not protected constitutionally

05/06/2012 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // justicenews // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Norfolk, Virginia – “Liking” something on Facebook is not constitutionally protected speech according to a recent court ruling. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Judge Raymond A. Jackson of Federal District Court made the ruling in a case against a Hampton sheriff sued by six workers who said their First Amendment rights were violated when they were fired for supporting a former opponent of his. At least one of the workers was stated to have “liked” the opponent’s Facebook page.

As noted in the report, the judge deemed in his decision that using the “like” button on the popular social media site was not expressive speech, and therefore did not fall under the protection of the First Amendment.

Marcus Messner, a journalism and mass communications professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, is quoted in the report as stating of the gray area of the matter, “Going to a candidate’s Facebook page and liking it, in my view, is a political statement… It’s not a very deep one, but you’re making a statement.”

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