US Supreme Court blocks Texas law restricting social media companies

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: The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that prohibits big social media companies from banning or censoring users based on their ‘view’, siding with two groups in the tech industry who argued the Republican-backed measure would turn the platforms into “havens of the vilest expression imaginable.”

The judges, in a 5-4 decision, granted a request by NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which counts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as members, to block the law while litigation continues after a court lower on May 11 let him go. in force.

Industry groups have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the law, challenging it as a violation of companies’ free speech rights, including editorial discretion on their platforms, under the Constitution’s First Amendment. American.

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Conservative justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch issued a written dissent, while liberal justice Elena Kagan said she would have denied the industry groups’ request.

The Texas law was passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature and signed by its Republican governor. Its passage comes as American conservatives and right-wing commentators complain that “Big Tech” is suppressing their views. These people cite as a stark example Twitter’s permanent suspension of former Republican President Donald Trump from the platform shortly after the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters, with the company citing “the additional incentive risk”. of violence.”

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The law, officially known as HB20, prohibits social media companies with at least 50 million monthly active users from acting to “censor” users based on their “viewpoint”, and allows users or the Texas Attorney General to sue for enforcement.

Signing the bill last September, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “There is a dangerous move by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values. It’s wrong and we won’t allow it in Texas.

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Industry groups said the state law would unconstitutionally allow government control of private speech. Restricting editorial control of platforms, the groups said, “would compel platforms to air all manner of objectionable viewpoints — such as Russian propaganda claiming its invasion of Ukraine is justified.”

“Instead of platforms engaging in editorial discretion, platforms will become havens for the vilest expression imaginable: pro-Nazi speech, hostile foreign government propaganda, pro-terror organization speech and countless other examples,” they added.

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