Saturday, September 21, 2013

Free Speech Rights "Clicking 'like' on Facebook is free speech, court rules"

"U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson threw out the lawsuit in early 2012, ruling in part that clicking the "like" button isn't protected free speech.

But in a case that garnered national attention, the deputies and other employees appealed, with Facebook and the ACLU also weighing in on their side. On Wednesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs and reinstituted the case.

"In sum, 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," the appellate court said in a 62-page ruling. "In this way, it is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one's front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech."

The court added: "Certainly a posting on a campaign's Facebook Page indicating support for the candidate constitutes speech within the meaning of the First Amendment."

The case was sent back to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings, including the possibility of a trial. The Facebook issue was only one of several reasons Jackson threw out the case, and only one of the issues at play in the appeal. Some of Jackson's reasons were upheld by the appeals court. The official ruling was, "we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for trial."

Source and Full Free Speech Rights Case

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