Politics

Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas law that would punish social media platforms for removing political content

The Supreme Court of the United States temporarily blocked a Texas law from taking effect this week that would punish social media platforms for removing political content they deemed inappropriate. 

In a 5-4 vote, with the three most conservative justices and surprisingly, Justice Elena Kagan, voting against blocking the bill. The majority included Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Sonia Sotomayor.

The bill would bar online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others from removing content based on political viewpoints.

NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, two large big tech interest groups, filed an emergency request to block the law from taking effect after the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturned a decision that allowed the law to proceed. They argued the law would require the platforms to leave up content that may contain political beliefs like neo-Nazism, Russian propaganda and misinformation, and even KKK content.

The tech companies and other opponents of the Texas law argued it would hinder social media platforms from exercising their First Amendment rights to display content they deem appropriate the same way newspapers and other outlets do.

The state of Texas argued the bill does not infringe on the platforms’ First Amendment rights to free speech as it does not restrict the speech of the platforms themselves but rather their behavior toward their users’ First Amendment rights.

Since the Fifth Circuit Panel will probably uphold the Texas social media law, directly contradicting the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled to block the law. Due to the conflict, the case will likely end up back in front of the Supreme Court in a few months. 

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: HOUSTON PUBLIC MEDIA

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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