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Tech groups urge Supreme Court to block Texas social media law

Two lobby groups for Big Tech companies such as Google, Meta and Twitter have asked the US Supreme Court to block a Texas law that prohibits major social media sites from banning users or deleting posts based on political views.

NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association on Friday filed with the court for an emergency stay of the law, which allows users of the site or the Texas Attorney General to sue companies when posts are removed. The law went into effect Wednesday after a federal appeals court lifted a previous injunction against him. Lobby groups want the law blocked again until appeals can work their way through lower courts.

In their filing, the lobby groups say the law prevents social media sites from “indulging in any editorial discretion based on point of view” and “would compel the platforms to spread all manner of objectionable content”, including the terrorist propaganda, hate speech and messages that put children at risk. health at risk. They also claim that the law would “fundamentally transform” the business models and services of these sites.

Supporters of the law, which was sponsored by Republicans and signed in September by GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, say social media and other tech companies engage in political censorship, a notion advanced by conservatives since several years. The companies have repeatedly denied this claim. Instead, they say they take action against users and posts that violate policies to protect public safety, prevent real-world violence, and combat misinformation, among other things.

The judge who issued the earlier injunction against the law said social media companies have the First Amendment right to moderate content on their platforms. The federal appeals court decision that lifted that injunction on Wednesday was released without the court’s reasoning.

In June, a federal judge blocked a Florida law from taking effect this would have allowed the state to punish social media companies for banning politicians or political candidates from their platforms. The judge in that case found that the law’s ban on “deplatforming” could violate companies’ free speech rights and said the legislation as a whole was “point of view based.”

Friday’s request to stay Texas law was made to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who can rule on his own or refer it to the full court.


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