The “Like” and the First Amendment

On Sept. 18, 2013, a federal appeals court ruled that “liking” something is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, and liking something was similar to putting a sign in one’s yard.

Wow. That must mean employers everywhere better re-evaluate their social media policies, right? Well…sort of.

Only government employees are protected under free-speech guidelines, so the ruling does not apply to those who do not work for the government.

Nonetheless, this ruling does help to draw a line in the seemingly obscure area between public and private life online, known as the “blur.” Albeit, it will be interesting to see if the courts determine whether posts are also protected under the First Amendment.

This is yet another reason why nonprofit organizations need to have a written social media policy. With a clearly written guide, you can ensure that employees and volunteers will know what is appropriate to post on social media while representing your organization as well as what to consider when posting something to their personal social media accounts.


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