Be Careful What You “Like” on Facebook

By Mark Evans - Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 at 7:30 am  

Social media is popular and offers great value and utility,  but it is not without some absurdity.

Thanks to this story on Mashable by Chris Taylor about free speech and the “Like”  button, it seems a simple click of the like button on Facebook can cause a legal whirlwind.

In Virginia, a sheriff fired six employees, including one of who liked the status of one of the sheriff’s political opponents. Taylor covers the nuts and bolts of the case fairly well, so let’s focus on the other part of this story.

A judge decided the U.S. Constitution does not cover the liking of statuses under any of its free speech legislation and amendments. Yes, this story really happened.

The clicking of social media icon is not free speech, but maybe it is time we redefined speech to match the digital modern times. The number of people who use Facebook and other networks warrants a reappraisal. At some point, all social media activity could have legal protection as freedom of speech within certain parameters.

In fact, could we be on the cusp on the next amendment to the Constitution? Could Facebook really become part of U.S. constitutional history? The answer to these questions could be “yes” if incidents like the one above continue to make headlines.

Whether this actually happens, it’s important to note the times have changed due to social media, and we need to be aware of the consequence.

Your social media voice is loud and important, even if it feels lost among a sea of content. This being said, you should always feel free to voice your opinion and enjoy social media for its intended purposes.

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