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Clicking 'Like' on Facebook is free speech

Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:39:09 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 18 2013 05:35:27 PM EDT

A federal appeals court says clicking "Like" on Facebook is constitutionally protected free speech.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Wednesday that liking a political candidate's campaign page is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in your front yard.

Exactly what a "like" means -- if anything -- played a part in a case in Virginia involving six people who say Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts fired them for supporting an opponent in his 2009 re-election bid.

One of the workers `liked' the Facebook page of Roberts' opponent.

The appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that said merely `liking' a Facebook page was insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection.

Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union had both filed friend of the court briefs.