can apparently have quite different meaning depending on cultural background. The "thumb up" could be something very rude (and I recall being told so by a foreign former colleague).
I always wonder about the free speech argument, and I'm pretty sure it does not apply there, I thought it applied to government trying to hinder free expression of thought. Also, "it might be not strictly illegal" is a pretty weak defense.
Yeah, I'll get downvoted for that observation, even though I did not condone Microsoft's behaviour. Weird what people read into text.