Facebook: A New Legal Specialty

There are very few people out there that haven’t heard of Facebook. This social media tool always seems to be in the news and with good reason…over 9 million users and growing.

Facebook is set for their official IPO this week. It will go down as one of the biggest IPO ever. Forbes released an article on why it matters.

With billions on the table, what are the business opportunities for judges, politicians, even a Fairfax criminal lawyer? For many in the legal profession, we watch with interest as this company goes public.

The media shares the negative stories of Facebook — cyber-bullying, employees losing jobs, or adults in trouble posting things they shouldn’t. How the law interprets this sharing of information continues to evolve with new cases in court regularly.

You can find a Virginia Reckless Driving Lawyer, A Virginia DUI Attorney, or any other legal representation on Facebook then publicly ‘Like’ them. Is this a statement on your personal behavior and/or does it hold any weight if you ever had to go to court?

As reported in Virginia’s Lawyer Weekly this May, the Virginia courts ruled that ‘Likes’ on Facebook were NOT protected. Plaintiffs working for the Sheriff’s office claimed that because they ‘Liked’ his opponent on Facebook, it actually got them fired. They claimed unfair dismissal due to freedom of speech, the court ruled that ‘Liking’ was not a protected freedom and awarded the case to newly re-elected Sheriff B.J. Roberts.

“Merely ‘liking’ a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection,” said Newport News U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. “In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record. … Facebook posts can be considered matters of public concern,” but not in this case,” Jackson said inBland v. Roberts(VLW 012-3-171).

Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, would argue that the new mode of communication and the ripple-down effect of changing laws are part of the social evolution. He believes if we’re willing to post and share, our information belongs to the world.

There’s no doubt it’s an interesting topic to watch. Who knows, maybe we’ll need to update our Virginia DWI orReckless Driving FAQs page?!

Do you have a Facebook story or legal question? As experienced Fairfax criminal lawyers, our team is happy to help. Our legal consultations are always free, we look forward to hearing from you.