HB20 Texas blocked: The US Supreme Court rules against a state law restricting social media moderation for political reasons

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that prohibits major social media companies like Facebook or Twitter from banning or removing users’ posts based on users’ political views.

The judges, by a vote of 5 to 4, granted NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s motion to reinstate a ban imposed by a federal district judge while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

“No online platform, website or newspaper should be directed by government officials to broadcast specific speeches,” Matt Schruers, the association’s president, said in a statement. “This has been a core tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld it.”

The two industry bodies, which represent companies like Google and Twitter, sued last fall to block the law. In December, a federal district court judge ruled in favor of the groups, preventing the law from going into effect, arguing that the First Amendment protects a company’s right to moderate content and calling parts of the law “unaffordably vague.”

As a result, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the district judge’s decision to the 5th Circuit Court of Circuits, which reinstated the law.

House Bill 20, passed during a special session last year, also requires social media platforms with more than 50 million monthly users to publicly disclose information about content removals and account suspensions.

SEE PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Texas’ controversial social media censorship law awaits its fate in the US Supreme Court

Disclosure: Facebook and Google are financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial backers play no part in Tribune journalism. A complete list can be found here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that educates and collaborates with Texans on public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

https://abc13.com/hb20-texas-social-media-moderation-law-censorship-us-supreme-court-scotus-rulings-today/11913197/ HB20 Texas blocked: The US Supreme Court rules against a state law restricting social media moderation for political reasons

Dais Johnston

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