Tech industry files urgent petition to block Texas’ controversial social media law

Trade industry groups representing tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, have filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court to block HB 20. It’s a controversial law. Texas law prohibits social media sites from removing or restricting content based on “the views of users or others.” It also allows users to sue large platforms with more than 50 million monthly active users. if they believe they are banned because of their political views. As Articles washington reports, it reflects Republicans’ claims that they are being censored by “Big Tech”.

A federal judge blocked HB 20 from being implemented last year, but the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision recently. The panel of judges agreed with the state of Texas that social networks are “modern-day public squares,” meaning they are prohibited from censoring certain views. One of the judges also said that the social network is not a website but rather an “internet provider”. The panel allowed the law to go into effect while its merits are still being contested in lower courts.

NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), groups representing the technology industry, have asserted that the law is an attack on the First Amendment and have previously questioned its validity. its constitutionality. In the emergency application, they said HB 20 is an “unprecedented attack on the editorial discretion of private websites … that will fundamentally transform our business and service model.” surname.”

They explain that under the law, platforms will have no choice but to allow the dissemination of “all kinds of objectionable views”, such as Russian propaganda justifying the invasion of Ukraine, posts that support neo-Nazi, KKK and Holocaust, as well as posts that encourage dangerous behavior, such as disordered eating. They write in application (PDF).

NetChoice and CCIA also argued that by allowing the law to be enforced, it could influence and interfere with the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Atlanta-based Court of Appeals would decide the fate of a law. similar in Florida was initially blocked by a federal judge for infringing Article 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

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