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HomenewsSocial Media Cases From Texas and Florida That Could Affect Platform Moderation...

Social Media Cases From Texas and Florida That Could Affect Platform Moderation Have Been Placed on Hold by the Supreme Court.

A decision on whether or not to hear lawsuits challenging social media rules in Texas and Florida was put on hold by the Supreme Court.

This has the potential to affect how platforms make decisions about what content to keep and what to highlight.

Laws Governing Social Media in the States of Texas and Florida

Monday, the court asked the US solicitor general to weigh in on the claims that were brought by tech trade groups NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

The organisations argue that the laws are unconstitutional because they limit the freedom of corporations to choose the type of speech they host.

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To address what they see as the unjust censorship of conservative viewpoints on social media, Republican leaders in Texas and Florida pushed for the proposal. Many major platforms have publicly said that they will exclusively police their own terms of service.

NetChoice and the CCIA warned that platforms would be forced to keep messages even if they contain inaccurate representations about particularly sensitive themes if the social media regulations were allowed to take effect.

They cited Russia’s propaganda defending its invasion of Ukraine, ISIS’s propaganda defending extremism, neo-Nazi or KKK screeds denying or supporting the Holocaust, and materials urging children to participate in risky or harmful behaviour, such as binge eating.

Declaration of Rights

The Supreme Court sided with the interim stay of the Texas Act without weighing in on the merits of the case. The law in Florida has been put on hold temporarily by an appeals court.

Legislation is in limbo until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to consider the cases.
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Two further instances with potential implications for the business models of major platforms will be heard by the court next month.

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As in Gonzalez v. In particular, Google investigates whether internet service providers are immune from liability for their users’ contributions under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Social media companies may adjust their procedures to reduce their legal risk if a judge rules that websites must take greater responsibility for the distribution of third-party messages.

According to NetChoice and CCIA, the court’s invitation for comments is a good sign. We are thrilled that the Supreme Court is considering taking up our petitions and has requested the Solicitor General’s opinion on the proceedings, NetChoice Counsel Chris Marchese said in a statement.

We expect the Solicitor General to agree with NetChoice and CCIA that websites have First Amendment protections and will petition the Supreme Court to consider the cases. CCIA president Matt Schruers agreed that the request emphasises the seriousness of such occurrences.

Schnuers argued that a decision by the Supreme Court was necessary. Having the government dictate what private companies can and cannot post or disseminate online sets a dangerous precedent.

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In a democratic society, allowing the government control over online communication might have far-reaching consequences, and the First Amendment protects both the freedom of speech and the freedom from compulsion.

Requests for comment from the offices of the Texas and Florida attorneys general went unanswered for some time.
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Sapna Pal
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