You will probably recall the litigation in the US a couple of years back about whether someone’s ‘like’ on a Facebook page was constitutionally protected ‘speech’.
An employee of a municipal sheriff had Liked the page of a candidate running against the incumbent sheriff. When the incumbent was re-elected, he fired the employee. The court of first instance held that the Like was not political expression and not protected against retaliation. On appeal, that decision was reversed – the Like was political speech – but the firing was upheld for other reasons.
The US National Labour Relations Board has recently held that a Like on FB was protected as well, and the employee who had Liked a statement complaining of the employer’s actions had to be reinstated. Here’s a report of the decision.
Note that – according to this report – the result depends on just what was Liked. Liking some kinds of statement might constitute adoption of the statement to the degree that if the statement was a firing offence, so too the Like would be.
This strikes me as correct: the Like is speech, but its meaning will vary with what is Liked, and if the law does not protect the target, it does not protect the approval of the target either.
Do you agree that a FB Like should be considered expression subject to legal protection (and subject to the limits on that protection)?
Are there any Canadian instances of Likes being either protected as expression, or not?