Tech groups ask Supreme Court to weigh in on Texas social media law

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
FILE – Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16, 2022. The court heard arguments on Dec. 7 in a case from North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court because the GOP map violated the state constitution.

Two tech industry groups asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to weigh in on a Texas law that would limit major social media companies’ ability to moderate content on their platforms.

The Computer and Communications Association (CCIA) and NetChoice petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case over Texas House Bill 20, which seeks to ban social media platforms from “censoring” users based on their political views.

The law was set to go into effect in December 2021 but has remained tied up in court for the last year over allegations that it violates the First Amendment — arguments that CCIA and NetChoice reiterated in Thursday’s petition to the high court.

“HB20 infringes the core First Amendment rights of Petitioners’ members by denying them editorial control over their own websites, while forcing them to publish speech they do not wish to disseminate,” CCIA and NetChoice said in the brief

A district court judge initially blocked the Texas law from going into effect but was later overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The tech industry groups — whose members include major tech companies like Meta, Twitter and Google — also asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on a similar law in Florida in October, which was blocked by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This case, involving a key Constitutional issue and split appellate court decisions, calls for Supreme Court oversight,” CCIA President Matt Schruers said in a statement.

The Texas and Florida laws have emerged from the states’ Republican-led legislatures in response to growing accusations that social media platforms censor content based on anti-conservative biases.

Tags big tech Computer and Communications Association content moderation NetChoice Social media Supreme Court Texas

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