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Federal judge blocks Texas law from focusing on conservatives’ social media ‘censorship’

ONE Texas the law seeks to ban social media websites that censor users based on their political views have been blocked by a Texas judge.

NBC News reported that a preliminary ban The restraining order was granted by United States District Judge Robert Pitman. The ban requested by a pair of trade associations whose members run major social media platforms will follow the law.

The judge wrote that “social media platforms have First Amendment rights to moderate content disseminated on their platforms,” ​​noting that they are privately owned companies, not actors. public forums or “regular service providers”.

According to the judge, the law would only apply to the largest social media platforms, specifically those with 50 million or more monthly users in the US. That means sites like Parler – popular with conservatives – or sports and news sites will be exempt.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law in September, allowing users to sue social media companies and receive legal fees if they believe they have been unjustly censored for their views. .

He made clear in a Twitter post that the law is intended to specifically protect conservative social media users, who have been banned from sharing vaccine misinformation, hate speech and threats of violence. on those platforms.

“Silence of conservative views is not American, it does not belong to Texans, and it is about to become illegal in Texas,” he said.

The social media companies targeted by the law sued the state shortly after the bill was signed into law, citing a violation of their First Amendment rights, commerce and equal protection provisions. in the United States Constitution.

Mr. Pittman agreed that the provisions of the law were “extremely ambiguous” and justified his ruling by citing precedent set by another judge who blocked a similar law in Florida.

Claims by conservatives that they are unfair targets of social media companies are largely unfounded. A report published in February from New York University found that if anything, social media sites are complicit in amplifying their ideas.

“Republicans, or more broadly conservatives, have spread a form of misinformation about how they are treated on social media. They complain that they are censored and persecuted, but not only is there no evidence to back that up, the evidence that does exist cuts the other way,” said Paul Barrett, Associate Director of the Center for Business and Development. Human Rights NYU Stern, told USA Today.

Barrett said that despite constant complaints from conservatives that they are being unfairly censored – especially in the wake of the Capitol riots – there is no evidence to support his claims. surname.

“There is a widespread campaign going on from the right to argue that they are being silenced or set aside, and that is the spirit that is helping to feed the extremism that we are seeing in my country right now. “We cannot just allow it to be a point of contention. It’s not legal. It is not supported by facts. “

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/judge-texas-law-social-media-conservatives-b1968876.html Federal judge blocks Texas law from focusing on conservatives’ social media ‘censorship’

JACLYN DIAZ

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