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Your Facebook Likes are officially protected free speech

Your Facebook Likes are officially protected free speech
Photo courtesy of shutterstock

Our right to free speech doesn't just protect the words that physically come out of our mouths. It even extends to your Facebook Likes. According to a recent court case, those little clicks of a button are also protected by the First Amendment.

The situation started back in 2009 when workers at the sheriff's office in Hampton, Virginia, decided to support sheriff candidate Jim Adams by Liking his campaign's Facebook page. Adams was running against their boss, Sheriff B.J. Roberts.

After Sheriff Roberts defeated Adams and was reelected, he dismissed Bobby Bland and others who had supported Adams, citing their effect on "the harmony and efficiency of the office." Bland challenged the dismissal in court, claiming that his Likes were protected by the First Amendment, but a U.S. District Court judge disagreed.

Yesterday, however, that decision was overturned. A federal appeals court ruled that a Facebook Like is, indeed, a form of expression that is covered by the First Amendment. Clicking a button is, per the decision, a protected form of speech.

Next page: Learn more about this case and how it could affect you.
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