Facebook and Courts Collide on Free Speech and Technology

I originally read this article in The Charlotte Observer on September 8, 2012. Since that time it has seen multiple reprints.

“In Facebook Court Cases, High Tech and Free Speech Collide” (To read the complete article, search the McClatchy link that follows. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/07/167685/in-facebook-court-cases-high-tech.html 

By Michael Doyle | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — “Like” the First Amendment? Then prepare for a fight, as courts and employers figure out whether a simple click on Facebook deserves free-speech protection.

It’s 21st-century technology meets an 18th-century Constitution, and the real-world implications are starting to erupt.

In rural Mississippi, two firefighters and a police officer are serving 30-day suspensions because they hit “like” on a controversial Facebook post.

In Virginia, a sheriff’s department employee said he was fired for “liking” a page sponsored by the sheriff’s political rival. One federal appellate court already is being asked to weigh in; others surely will follow.

 

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