Home Markets The Supreme Court is handling social media law cases in Texas and Florida

The Supreme Court is handling social media law cases in Texas and Florida

by SuperiorInvest

The United States Supreme Court building is seen in Washington DC, United States on December 28, 2022.

Celal Gunes | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Supreme Court has delayed a decision on whether to hear two cases challenging social media laws in Texas and Florida that could change how platforms decide which posts to remove and which to promote.

Court on Monday he asked the US attorney general to step into the cases, which were both filed by technology industry groups NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Assocation (CCIA). The groups argue that the laws violate companies’ First Amendment rights to determine what speech they host.

Republican leaders in Texas and Florida have pushed the legislation as a way to counter what they call unfair censorship of conservative views on social media. Major platforms claim to simply enforce their terms of service.

NetChoice and the CCIA have warned that if the social media laws come into force, they would force platforms to store messages even if they make false claims about highly sensitive topics. Examples include Russia’s “propaganda justifying its invasion of Ukraine, ISIS propaganda justifying extremism, neo-Nazi or KKK superstitions denying or supporting the Holocaust, and encouraging children to engage in risky or unhealthy behaviors such as eating disorders,” the group they wrote in an emergency filing that sought to block the Texas law from taking effect.

The Supreme Court had decided in favor of a temporary block on Texas law without deciding the merits of the case. The appeals court also temporarily invalidated the Florida law. The laws remain in limbo pending a Supreme Court decision on whether to take up the cases.

The court is due to hear two other cases next month that could also change the business models of major platforms. One in particular, Gonzalez v. Google, directly examines whether the algorithms that promote and organize information on websites can be protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online services from liability for their users’ contributions. If a court rules that websites should be held more accountable for how third-party messages are spread, social media companies could change the way they operate to reduce their legal exposure.

NetChoice and the CCIA said the court’s request for input is a good sign.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court is seriously considering taking our cases and asking the Attorney General to take the case,” NetChoice attorney Chris Marchese said in a statement. “We expect the attorney general to recognize the websites’ First Amendment rights and urge the Supreme Court to take up the cases and find for NetChoice and CCIA.”

CCIA president Matt Schruers agreed that the request “underlines the importance of these cases”.

“It is crucial that the Supreme Court ultimately resolves this matter,” Schruers said. “It would set a dangerous precedent to let the government intrude on private companies’ decisions about what material to publish or disseminate online. The First Amendment protects both the right to speak and the right not to be compelled to speak, and we should not underestimate the implications of that in a democracy.” government control over online speech.”

Representatives for the Texas and Florida attorneys general did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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