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Web Watch: Facebook likes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Web Watch: Facebook likes

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Laws continue to fall short when it comes to keeping up with the internet, but a recent ruling out of Virginia could mean changes to online rights.

The First Amendment protects free speech and an appeals court judge in that state says physically clicking the "like" button on Facebook is the same as saying someone likes something on Facebook.

One might say, obviously, however this ruling sets a new precedent.

An elected official in Virginia fired one of his staff members for clicking like on his opponent's campaign page. The employees said their first amendment rights were violated, and the judge agreed. This ruling overturns a former ruling saying Facebook likes are not free speech.

Where this gets tricky is now in the eyes of the court when a user likes, or shares something it is assumed the person supports it. The court says these likes are like political lawn signs and represent symbolic expression.

This idea of a thumbs up implies support.

The ruling is digging up more questions. How will this impact Twitter? Are retweets now automatic endorsements? Is it the same as the like button? Future courts will have to figure that out, too.

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