Texas HB20 protects violent, racist, and harmful content online
By a 5 vote majority Tuesday, the Supreme Court blocked a Texas law (HB20) that prevents social media companies from moderating content posted to their platforms.
Prior to the ruling, a wide range of organizations, including the NAACP and ADL, joined Chamber of Progress in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, urging the court to reverse a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the law to take effect. The Texas law prohibited social media platforms from moderating “viewpoints,” effectively forcing platforms to carry violent, racist, pornographic, and otherwise harmful content. The Supreme Court vacated the stay of the Preliminary Injunction against HB20, effectively preventing Texas from enforcing the law.
“As we debate how to stop more senseless acts of violence, Texas’s law would force social media to host racist, hateful, and extremist posts,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “Anti-content moderation laws are so actively harmful that our nation’s highest court took an emergency appeal to prevent this law from taking effect.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling follows an unexpected stay of the preliminary injunction against the Texas law by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which still has not ruled on the constitutionality of the law. Last week, a unanimous ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit blocked a similar law in Florida. The conflicting Circuit Court decisions heightened the need for the Supreme Court to weigh in.
In the Florida case, the Eleventh Circuit Court cited Chamber of Progress’s amicus brief, pointing to the harms of prohibiting social media sites from moderating content.
For more on the Texas law and Chamber of Progress’s legal advocacy opposing HB20, watch this month’s press conference, featuring Texas legislators, anti-hate advocates, and experts from Chamber of Progress. The case against HB20 now returns to the Fifth Circuit Court, which will rule on the underlying law.
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.
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