The American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook have joined forces to protect people’s right to “like” whatever they please.The civil liberties group and Facebook both filed amicus briefs Monday with Virginia’s federal appeals court, arguing the First Amendment protects users’ “likes.”
They’re weighing in on a case involving Hampton, Va. Sheriff B.J. Roberts that has captured national headlines.
The sheriff was known for using prisoners to set up campaign events and forcing workers to pedal tickets to campaign fundraisers, according to the ACLU brief.
A number of his opponents defected and “liked” another candidate’s Facebook page. After he won re-election, Roberts fired all the workers who didn’t support him, the ACLU brief stated.
The workers filed suit claiming their First Amendment rights were violated, but a lower court ruled their “likes” were not protected speech and threw out the case.
“The First Amendment protects expression, whether through actual words or through symbolic speech,” the ACLU brief stated, supporting the appeal. “By ‘Liking’ the Facebook page of the sheriff’s political opponents, plaintiffs were expressing their political opinion.”
A representative for the sheriff declined to comment Wednesday.
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