Archive | 8:03 pm

You have the like to remain silent

8 May

Anything you like can and will be used against you in a court of law

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Yes, this is a very dramatic picture for a post about Facebook, but I never get to use the pictures that I took at Williamsburg.

Four score and seven days ago… was the last time I updated my blog.  Okay, so it was probably more like ten score and seven days ago, but that’s not nearly as auspicious an opening line.  And auspicious opening lines do relate to the subject at hand: freedom of speech, more specifically if a like constitutes speech.  So really, freedom of likes.

The New York Times is reporting that, in a case that’s sure to go up on appeal (seriously, anyone want to bet on this?) a judge found that:

“Simply liking a Facebook page is insufficient.  It is not the kind of substantive statement that has previously warranted constitutional protection … For the Court to assume that the Plaintiffs made some specific statement without evidence of such statements is improper.”

Here’s my question: since when does speech need to be substantive to be protected?  I say insubstantial things all the time…  bippity boppity boo, see?  So, what was the like that warranted such a hubbub?  A man was fired from his job at a sheriff’s department, the reason: creating discord in the office by liking the sheriff’s political opponent’s Facebook page.  Okay, probably not the most savvy thing to do, but not exactly the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theatre.  Continue reading

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