Court blocks Texas social media law from taking effect


The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a controversial Texas social media law from going into effect Wednesday as industry groups seek to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

The court granted a request from the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice to prevent the law’s implementation ahead of a potential Supreme Court hearing on the case, the tech associations said Wednesday. 

“This ruling means Texas’s unconstitutional law will not be in force as the issue of government-compelled dissemination of speech makes its way to the Supreme Court. We are confident these laws will not stand,” CCIA President Matt Schruers said in a statement. 

The decision blocks a Texas law the groups are challenging that would restrict companies’ ability to remove users or violative content. The tech industry groups, as well as civil society groups that have backed their case, argue the law could lead to more dangerous content and hate speech online. 

In September, the 5th Circuit upheld the law, ruling at the time that “we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) touted the law during its signing last year as a way to push back on censorship and social media companies’ attempts to “silence conservative viewpoints.” 

The law, H.B. 20, forbids social media companies with more than 50 million monthly users from banning Texas-based users over their political views. Opponents argue that the way the law is crafted could keep companies from being able to remove dangerous posts, such as pro-terrorist content, animal abuse, pornography and hate speech. 

A similar Florida law is being challenged by the groups as well. That law, though, was blocked by an appellate court in a conflicting opinion to the one issued in the Texas case. One of the cases is expected to appear before the Supreme Court. 

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