The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to block Texas’s social media censorship law that prohibits tech titans from de-platforming users over political expression.
The decision did not evaluate the law on its merits but prevents it from going into effect while the case proceeds in federal courts, which will determine whether it can be enforced.
Texas’s measure, modeling a similar version that passed in Florida in May 2021, bars Twitter, Facebook, and other social-media platforms from banning political candidates and from moderating or removing content based on viewpoint.
“HB20 would compel platforms to disseminate all sorts of objectionable viewpoints,” two industry groups which sued to block the law last fall on behalf of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter wrote in a legal filing, “such as Russia's propaganda claiming that its invasion of Ukraine is justified, ISIS propaganda claiming that extremism is warranted, neo-Nazi or KKK screeds denying or supporting the Holocaust, and encouraging children to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior like eating disorders.”
The High Court’s ruling comes after a federal appeals court reinstated the Texas law earlier this month. Prior to that in December, a federal district court judge ruled in favor of the industry groups and suspended the law’s implementation pending further litigation, arguing that the First Amendment permits a company to moderate content on its platform.