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Facebook: Like Feature Vital To Free Speech

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A lawyer for the popular social network told a federal appeals court that the like feature is vital to free speech.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook is looking to reverse a court ruling – where six people were fired from a sheriff’s department in Virginia – that said the like feature isn’t covered under the First Amendment.

In the case, a former employee, Danny Carter, claims he was fired after he clicked the like button on a Facebook page created for his boss’s opponent “Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff,” which in turn created a post on his Facebook profile. Carter, along with five others, sued their former boss, B.J. Roberts, after they were fired when Roberts won re-election.

The post became the subject of Thursday’s court hearing as both sides argued over how online endorsements of people, ideas and products should be viewed.

A judge asked Roberts’ lawyer if clicking the like button was any different than putting up a yard sign that says “I Like Ike,” however U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson dismissed the lawsuit in an earlier ruling, saying Roberts’ did not violate any political affiliation rights by firing the six employees.

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