Social news feed: Protected ‘Likes’; Facebook ad with dead girl; world events on Twitter, Instagram

News from the wide, wild world of social media:

• Facebook Likes are constitutionally protected, a court decided Wednesday. The decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., reverses a lower court’s ruling in a case we’ve mentioned before, that of the firing of sheriff’s office employees after one of them “liked” the Facebook page of the sheriff’s election opponent.

“Liking” something is “the Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one’s front yard, which the Supreme Court has held is substantive speech,” the court wrote.

Facebook, the National Association of Police Organizations and the ACLU, which had supported the plaintiffs, applauded the decision.

• Speaking of Facebook, it has apologized and banned an advertiser who featured a dead teen in a dating ad. Canadian Rehtaeh Parsons was 17 when she killed herself after an alleged sexual assault and subsequent bullying. The ad included the following text: “Find Love in Canada!”

Ionechat was banned by Facebook, which told the Toronto Star that “this is an extremely unfortunate example of an advertiser scraping an image from the Internet and using it in their ad campaign.” Also, a Luxembourg-based dating company called be2, whose domain was used by Ionechat and claims “damage done” to its brand, is considering legal action, it told the Star.

• After an Afghan election official was killed this week, the Taliban tweeted about it and claimed responsibility, reports the New York Times. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife are shown on their Instagram account visiting the sick and helping out in soup kitchens, notes Bloomberg.

As world events — and deadly conflicts — play out on social networks, the lines between old media and new media have blurred amid the “information war.” The main difference, Alec Ross, senior adviser for innovation under former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Bloomberg, is: “The formation of views is taking place on social media before it appears in print. [The Obama White House knows that well] and is emphasizing social media in efforts where persuasion is the intent,” he said.


Photo: A permanent sign of the iconic Facebook “Like” button is installed at the social networking website’s Menlo Park headquarters in 2011.  (Kirstina Sangsahachart/Daily News)


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  • saniya

    I absolutely love your blog! Particularly at the moment as I’m from New Zealand, currently in Paris and after a few months of travel around Europe, will also be moving to London! It’s refreshing and comforting to read how you tackle everything and, excuse the cliche, pretty inspirational! Good luck with everything! May even see you around London