WASHINGTON, May 31, 2022 – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, in a narrow 5-4 vote, blocked a Texas law that Republicans said would address the “censorship” of conservative voices on social media platforms. .
Texas HB 20 was created by Texas Republicans to counter the bias against conservative views expressed on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms with at least 50 million monthly active users.
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The bill was drafted, at least in part, as a reaction to the president donald trump’s Banned from social media. Shortly after his January 6 riots in the United States Capitol, Trump was simultaneously banned from multiple platforms and online retailers, including Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and countless other websites.
See also presenter: Florida Social Media Act Places Section 230 in Legal Spotlight, Broadband Breakfast, May 25, 2021
Final Decision on First Amendment Principles
A short six-page dissenting opinion on the issue was released on Tuesday. Samuel Alito, Neil GorsuchWhen Clarence Thomas He objected, arguing that the law should have been allowed to pass.justice Elena Kagan Nor did he join the objections written by Alito, nor did he provide any further explanation, but agreed that the law should be allowed to pass.
The decision was an emergency action to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s one-sentence decision. An appeals court had reversed an earlier injunction by a federal district court. In other words, this law passed the Texas legislature and was signed by the government. Greg Abbott prevented from taking effect.
Tech lobbying group NetChoice, along with many Silicon Valley groups, said the law would prevent social media platforms from moderating and addressing hateful and potentially inflammatory content. claimed.
In a statement, Chairman of the Computer & Communications Industry Association Matt Schruers “We are encouraged that this attack on First Amendment rights is suspended until the court can fully assess the impact of Texas’ inadequate law.”
“This ruling means that private American companies will have the opportunity to be heard in court before they are compelled to spread vulgar, abusive or extremist content under this Texas law. We thank the Supreme Court for ensuring First Amendment protections, including the right not to be forced to speak, in legal challenges to Texas’ social media laws.”
In a statement, Public Knowledge Legal Director John Bergmeier It’s good that the Supreme Court has blocked HB 20, Texas’ online speech control law. But it should have been unanimous. So many policy makers, and even Supreme Court judges, are using the power of Big Tech to their own ends rather than trying to limit it through antitrust and other competition. The attempt to control and abandon the basic principles of free speech is alarming. policy. We don’t have to abandon the First Amendment to curb the power of tech giants. ”
In his dissenting opinion, Alito said plaintiffs “hindered them from exercising their ‘editorial discretion,’ and they argued that this interference violated their right to ‘not disseminate the statements of others.’ I am claiming that,” he said.
“In some circumstances, we recognize the right of an organization to refuse to host another person’s speech,” he said. Irish-American gay, lesbian and bisexual group at Harley vs. Boston
“But in other circumstances we have rejected such claims,” he continued. Pruneyard Shopping Center vs Robbins.
Will Section 230 be revised at a full hearing by the Supreme Court?
“While it is not at all clear how existing precedents that predate the Internet age should apply to large social media companies, Texas states that its laws are under our case law. It claims to be acceptable.
Alito argued that there is a difference between forcing a platform to host messages and refraining from discriminating what users say “based on their point of view.” He said the HB 20 took the latter approach.
Alito went on to say that the bill would only apply to “platforms that claim to be ‘open to the public'” and “neutral forums for others to speak,” so targeted platforms could claimed that it had not spread the message it supported.
Because the bill only targets platforms with 50 million or more users, Alito said, “it’s only for companies that have some degree of market power, like telecom operators, and this power doesn’t affect them.” It will give you an ‘opportunity to lock it out’,” he added. [disfavored] speaker”
judge John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonya Sotomayor, Brett KavanaughWhen Amy Coney Barrett All voted yes, in favor of NetChoice LLC’s emergency petition to prevent HB 20 from coming into force.