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Thumb War: The Facebook 'Like' Button and Free Speech in the Era of Social Networking

Leigh Ellen Gray, Thumb War: The Facebook 'Like' Button and Free Speech in the Era of Social Networking, 7 Chas. L. Rev. 447 (2013)

41 Pages Posted: 23 May 2013  

Leigh Ellen Gray

Charleston School of Law

Date Written: May 10, 2013

Abstract

Using the Eastern District Court of Virginia's decision in Bland v. Roberts, 857 F.Supp. 2d 599 (E.D. Va. 2012), as a jumping off point, this article posits that traditional First Amendment jurisprudence can and must be applied consistently to emerging technologies if free speech doctrine is to have any relevance in an era characterized by the widerspread adoption of social media. The article explores how citizens and governments, both foreign and domestic, have made Facebook the modern public square, and discusses how American courts have considered Facebook activity in terms of whether it constitutes speech, with courts coming down on both sides of the question. Finally, it argues that "Liking" something on Facebook is speech, contrary to the decision in Bland.

Keywords: Facebook, speech, First Amendment, social media, Arab Spring

Suggested Citation

Gray, Leigh Ellen, Thumb War: The Facebook 'Like' Button and Free Speech in the Era of Social Networking (May 10, 2013). Leigh Ellen Gray, Thumb War: The Facebook 'Like' Button and Free Speech in the Era of Social Networking, 7 Chas. L. Rev. 447 (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2263231

Leigh Ellen Gray (Contact Author)

Charleston School of Law ( email )

Charleston, SC 29402
United States

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