A Texas law aimed at punishing social media companies if they “censor” users will apply for now, a three-person panel of federal appeals court judges ruled Wednesday.
Why this matters: The move, which overturned a lower court order that temporarily blocked the law, is a victory for Republicans, who claim that social media companies are trying to silence conservative views and beliefs. launched a campaign for
description: The law allows users to sue a social media company if they’ve been blocked from posting or have their posts removed, which civil liberties experts and tech advocates argue can provide companies with problematic speech such as hate and misogyny. will force the information to remain on its platform, Protocol reports.
- Wednesday’s ruling was supported by two unnamed judges who did not immediately argue the court.
Catch up soon: The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice filed suit against Texas shortly after the law came into force, calling it unconstitutional.
- A lower court judge ruled in December that the law prohibits “virtually all content moderation, the same tools that social media platforms employ to make their platforms safe, useful and enjoyable for users.”
- After the law was blocked, Greg Abbott (R), a spokesman for the Texas government, told the Austin American-Statesman that “[a]Undermining biased social media companies to quash conservative speech is hostile to the free speech foundation upon which America was built.”
What are they saying: “This unexplained order violates established First Amendment law,” CCIA President Matt Schruers said in a statement. “No choice is off the table. We will do what is necessary to ensure that the free market, not government legal mandate, decides what speech digital services do and do not disseminate.”
- “In an unusual and unfortunate move, a divided 2-1 5th Circuit panel lifted the injunction without deciding on merit and issuing an opinion without explaining the order,” said NetChoice vice president and general counsel Carl Szabo. .
- “Since HB20 is constitutionally decriminalized, we are weighing our options and plan to appeal the order immediately.”
- Attorney Scott Wilkens of The Knight First Amendment Institute, who filed a brief supporting the social media companies’ challenge, also issued a statement saying the decision would have “terrible consequences for online speech.”