Users can now Sue Social Media Platforms for Censorship in Texas
Texas introduced the HB 20 law last year after major politicians were blocked on social media platforms...
Texas introduced the HB 20 law last year after major politicians were blocked on social media platforms. Under the legislation, users of major platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will be able to sue platforms if they believe they have been banned for political reasons. The removing or restricting of content based on “the views of the user or others” will also be prohibited under the law.
NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association managed the security of the injunction against the law last year. The argument offered was that HB 20 would lead to misinformation and hate speech on all social media platforms. Also, it would violate the First Amendment rights of the website. The judge overseeing the case agreed that social networks have First Amendment rights to censor content.
Texas filed an appeal, and state attorney generals argued that social media platforms act as “modern-day public squares” meaning they may be asked to host content they deem objectionable and are prohibited from censoring certain views. Texas got the backing of the 5th Circuit judges as they claimed social media networks are not websites but internet providers.
Chris Marchese, NetChoice’s attorney, called the legislation “an attack on the First Amendment and constitutionally corrupt from top to bottom.”
Last year, Florida had a law blocked by federal courts which is similar to the HB 20. A judge ruled it violated Section 230 of the Discipline in Information Act that protects online platforms from liability and authority over what their users post.
Florida has also appealed that decision, which will be decided by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. As Texas and corporations work to overturn the law, HB 20 is currently in effect.