Go Into Effect
Court ignores legal precedent, opens social media to harmful content.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay the preliminary injunction against Texas’s anti-content moderation law, H.B. 20. The Fifth Circuit’s ruling means that Texas’ law, which forbids online platforms from moderating users’ content “based on the viewpoint of the user,” will now go into immediate effect in Texas. Though the court will subsequently assess the substance of the appeal against the law, today’s ruling means that platforms won’t be able to legally remove incendiary posts from conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and even terrorists.
“Multiple federal judges have affirmed over the years that online platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what appears on their platforms, and these judges chucked that principle overboard,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “The MAGA right has said for years they don’t want platforms to moderate content, and unfortunately we’re about to see their dreams come true. Platforms won’t be able to remove scammers, conspiracy theorists, terrorists, or white nationalists — and social media will be forced to turn into a sewer.”
Chamber of Progress led an amicus brief with nine other tech and civil society groups urging the court to stop the law, highlighting how the law would provide safe harbor to hate speech, disinformation, and other harmful posts if it were allowed to go into effect.
During consideration of the social media bill, Chamber of Progress urged Texas legislators to vocally oppose the measure. Lawmakers on the left spoke out against the bill, questioned its sponsor for his history of posting violent content online, and offered amendments that would have protected the ability of social media sites to take down posts related to Holocaust denial and terrorism. The Democratic amendments were ultimately rejected.
Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.