Clicking 'Like' on Facebook is free speech

POSTED: 07:39 AM EST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 05:35 PM EDT Sep 18, 2013 
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -

A federal appeals court says clicking "Like" on Facebook is constitutionally protected free speech.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled Wednesday that liking a political candidate's campaign page is the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in your front yard.

Exactly what a "like" means -- if anything -- played a part in a case in Virginia involving six people who say Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts fired them for supporting an opponent in his 2009 re-election bid.

One of the workers `liked' the Facebook page of Roberts' opponent.

The appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that said merely `liking' a Facebook page was insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection.

Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union had both filed friend of the court briefs.