Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Your Facebook "Likes" Are Not Free Speech

Be Careful Who You "Like"

In the article Your Facebook 'likes' can get you fired, the author notes that "Applying old laws to new technology can be tricky. ...

In the case of "Bland v. Roberts, Bobby Bland and four coworkers in the sheriff's department in Hampton, Va., clicked the "like" button on the Facebook page of Jim Adams, who was running against their boss, Sheriff B.J. Roberts, in 2009. Roberts won, and promptly fired all five, citing budget constraints, unsatisfactory work performance, and a lack of "harmony and efficiency" in the office. But Bland and his cohort contended it was liking Adams' Facebook page that got them canned."

The judge ruled that clicking the like button on Facebook isn't free speech.  But has the application of the law, or the applier, really caught up with technology?

"That's fine as far as it goes, say legal scholars, but the act of liking something on Facebook may be far more of a statement than the judge apparently realized. "Judges in general do not really understand Facebook," observes Eric Goldman, who teaches at Santa Clara University School of Law in Silicon Valley. He also directs the school's High Tech Law Institute and writes a blog on high-tech legal issues."

So, remember to be careful who you "like."

(Read more here at Your Facebook 'likes' can get you fired)

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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