PEN on Twitter

Last night, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in an appeal of a federal judge’sruling in May that “liking” something on Facebook is not speech protected by the First Amendment. In the case, now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, employees of a Virginia sheriff who was running for reelection were fired for “liking” the sheriff’s opponent’s webpage on Facebook and taking other actions to indicate their support for the opponent. Those employees brought a First Amendment lawsuit against the sheriff, B.H. Roberts, who fired them after he won the election…

With “one click of a button,” an Internet user can upload or view a video, donate money to a campaign, forward an email, sign a petition, send a pre-written letter to a politician, or do a myriad of other indisputably expressive activities. The ease of these actions does not negate their expressive nature. Indeed, under the district court’s reasoning, affixing a bumper sticker to your car, pinning a campaign pin to your shirt, or placing a sign on your lawn would be devoid of meaning absent further information, and therefore not entitled to constitutional protection because of the minimal effort these actions require. All of these acts are, of course, constitutionally protected…

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