The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that clicking the “like” button on Facebook is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. While constitutional and media scholars parse the implications of such a seemingly insignificant and “uncreative” action being deemed substantive speech, millions of Americans feel validated over their anger and hurt feelings resulting from various interpersonal slights revolving around Facebook likes.
“I have 387 Facebook friends,” began Jasmine Parker of Overland Park, Kansas. “Over 300 of them liked my relationship status change to ‘engaged.’You know who didn’t? My future mother-in-law. And don’t tell me she’s too old to understand how Facebook works, she likes pictures on the ‘You Know You’re A Quilter When…’ community every damn day.”
“Listen, I know we all get a billion like requests for our friends’ stupid little vanity projects: their garage bands and online jewelry boutiques and ‘independent consulting firms’ and so on” said mobile-restaurateur Shane Feltano after hearing of the decision, “I get it. But if you’re gonna show up to my food truck and expect a free fish taco, you’d better pony up at least a Facebook like for my business.”
“I was doing my usual Sunday morning de-tagging rounds,” said college student Taylor Whitley, “And I saw that my boyfriend liked a photo of me with his ex in the background. Nice try, asshole. Hope she takes you back when I tell her that you have a separate account so you can comment on One Direction fanpages.”
Bland v. Roberts, the case in question, was itself a matter of Facebook Dramz, as two municipal employees stuck it to their boss by liking the Facebook page for his opponent’s campaign in the sheriff election and were fired for it. Which, to be fair, if you are spending your time going through every person who liked your opponents page and then rage firing them, you probably aren’t fit for public office anyway.
“They say the Founders couldn’t have anticipated Facebook,” says First Amendment scholar Elizabeth B. Gosselin, “But they knew full well of dramz, and that was their main motivator for establishing rights of free speech and association in the first place. So, I click the like button on the Appeals Court’s ruling. Hashtag jurisprudence.”
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