A social media user who makes a false statement about another user can be liable for defamation. But what about just “liking” a statement?
A federal district court says clicking the “like” button feature offered by Facebook Inc. and other sites can’t be considered defamatory.
The word “like” is a “quintessential statement of opinion,” the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota said in a Jan. 29 decision. “It is unquestionably imprecise and unverifiable.”
The case at hand involves East Coast Test Prep LLC, which filed a defamation claim against an online nursing discussion forum moderator for “liking” a user’s comment that said test preparation companies for Excelsior College will be obsolete.
East Coast Test Prep alleged a reasonable person would interpret the “like” as an endorsement of the veracity of that comment.
But the court dismissed the claim.
Even if East Coast’s argument was correct, the moderator of Allnurses.com had “liked” a comment that amounted to an expression of opinion, it said. Based on the court’s reasoning, however, it appears the ruling wouldn’t have changed even if the “like” had been attached to a defamatory statement instead.
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