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ACLU, Facebook Argue A 'Like' Is Protected Speech

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Attorneys for Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union want a federal appeals court in Virginia to rule that clicking the "Like" button on the social networking site is constitutionally protected speech, the Associated Press reports. 

The case revolves around six Hampton Sheriff's Department employees fired by Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts after they supported his opponent in his 2009 re-election bid, which he won. When plaintiff Daniel Ray CarterJr. clicked the "Like" button on the Facebook Page titled 'Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,' the words "Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff" and a photo of Adams appeared on Carter's Facebook Profile, the equivalent of an endorsement. 

The dismissed workers sued, saying their First Amendment rights were violated. In an earlier ruling, the plaintiffs lost, as U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson ruled that simply clicking the "Like" button wasn't sufficient enough speech to garner First Amendment protection. 

The workers want the decision reversed. Facebook and the ACLU filed friend of the court briefs this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.

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