The tech industry is suing SCOTUS against the bad law on social media in Texas

The tech industry is suing SCOTUS against the bad law on social media in Texas

NetChoice and the Computer Communications Industry Association have appealed directly to the Supreme Court over the urgent suspension of Texas social media law, known as HB 20. The law, which creates accountability for content-based decisions based on on the “point of view”. of the user or another person ”, could make it impossible to enforce bans on hate speech – or even moderation of platforms. HB 20 was successfully blocked in court at the end of last year and then unblocked by an appellate court on Wednesday without explanation.

“Texas HB 20 deprives online companies of their speech rights, prohibits them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote unacceptable content,” NetChoice Councilor Chris Marchese said in a press release. “The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi discourse and spam.”

In the appeal hearing before the court’s decision to unblock HB 20, the three-judge panel in the fifth round seemed confused about many of the basic terms used – one judge seemed to believe that Twitter is not a website, and another seemed confused. to believe that there is no difference between a phone company like Verizon and a social media company like Twitter or Facebook.

NetChoice won a similar case in Florida last year, making the constitutional issues in this case even more pressing.

Going directly to the Supreme Court, NetChoice and the CCIA chose to omit the “en banc” review, in which the fifth circuit would have gathered a larger group to review the decision of the original panel. NetChoice’s request for an emergency stay will be considered by Judge Samuel Alito, who could decide unilaterally or send the matter to court in general. If admitted, the application would mean that HB 20 is blocked again, pending further legal proceedings.

At the moment, the Supreme Court has a strong conservative majority, including Judge Clarence Thomas, whose views on Twitter moderation seem to echo HB 20, and the Facebook posts of his wife who promoted the January 6 rally that turned in an insurrection and he also ended up with Donald Trump. was banned on Twitter.

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