The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law barring social media companies from banning users based on political views, The Texas Tribune reports.
The court ruled 5-4 to grant a request from NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association to block the law from being enforced while it is litigated in the courts.
Conservatives John Roberts, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh joined liberals Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer to block the law.
“No online platform, website, or newspaper should be directed by government officials to carry certain speech,” said Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association. “This has been a key tenet of our democracy for more than 200 years and the Supreme Court has upheld that.”
Social media crackdown:
The Texas GOP passed the law during a special session last year.
The law does not set any specific penalties but allows users to sue for court costs if a company violates the restrictions.
The law bans any platform with more than 50 million monthly users from removing a user over a “viewpoint” and requires them to publicly report content removal and account suspension decisions.
Republicans, who baselessly accuse social networks of censoring conservative views, argued that social media platforms should be treated like “common carriers” like phone companies or cable providers, which are barred from discriminating against customers.
Tech groups that sued argued the law would force social media companies to “disseminate, for example, pro-Nazi speech, terrorist propaganda, foreign government disinformation, and medical misinformation.”
“Texas’s HB 20 is a constitutional trainwreck—or, as the district court put it, an example of ‘burning the house to roast the pig,’” Chris Marchese, counsel at NetChoice, said in a statement. “We are relieved that the First Amendment, open internet, and the users who rely on it remain protected from Texas’s unconstitutional overreach.”