No First Amendment Protection for Facebook Likes Says Judge

Bland and his cohorts worked in the Hampton Sheriff’s Office, under B.J. Roberts. Roberts ran for re-election against Jim Adams, and the plaintiffs were lukewarm in their support of Roberts. In fact, three of the plaintiffs went so far as to “like” Adams’ Facebook page. Roberts won the election, and he decided to not retain the plaintiffs.

He justified the terminations on cost-cutting and budgeting grounds, but plaintiffs argued that their termination violated their First Amendment rights. The court grants Roberts’ motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiffs alleged they engaged in a variety of protected activities, such as placing a bumper sticker on one of their cars and attending an Adams-sponsored cookout, but the court says there is no evidence that Roberts was aware of these activities.

The one activity that Roberts knew about was “the presence” of two of the plaintiffs on his opponent’s Facebook page. However, with respect to this activity, the court says that plaintiffs did not point to any specific statements they made on Adams’ Facebook page. One plaintiff claimed he posted a comment to Adams’ page, but he later took it down, and the comment wasn’t presented to the court. Plaintiffs “liked” Adams’ Facebook page, and there was no dispute that Roberts was aware of this, but the court says this is insufficient.

Read the rest Via:arstechnica

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