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New Law Will Let Users Sue Facebook, Twitter For "Censoring" Their Views

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New Law Will Let Users Sue Facebook, Twitter For "Censoring" Their Views

A new ruling issued by the federal appeals court in Texas has just made it an awful lot easier for users to sue large social media platforms if they feel they're being censored.


As I'm sure you're aware, the internet is an entirely too volatile place - and various social media platforms have their own methods of moderating and dealing with comments that could be construed as discriminatory, offensive, or encouraging of violence against others.

As reported by CNN this new ruling enables residents of Texas (or the Texas Attorney General's Office) to sue the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for moderating content based on "the viewpoint of the user or another person".

Bill HB20 makes it illegal for any social media platform with over 50 million US monthly users to "block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression".


The bill was actually first passed in September 2021. However, it was blocked by a federal court a few months later on the grounds that the low would violate the First Amendment, which is supposed to allow online platforms the right to make their own editorial choices.

But that injunction has now been stayed by The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which means that the law can immediately go into effect.


A report from Protocol claims that during the hearing in which this was ultimately decided, one judge repeatedly referred to Twitter as an "internet provider". Another feared that if Twitter and Facebook continued to be allowed to moderate comment sections, it wouldn't be long before phone companies could disconnect telephone calls they didn't agree with. Super cool to have these people making decisions about the future of the internet.

Naturally, this ruling has created a huge amount of uncertainty in regards to how social media platforms will be able to work in Texas going forward, assuming they can at all.

"This decision will have terrible consequences for speech online," Scott Wilkens, senior staff attorney with the Knight First Amendment Institute, said in a statement. "As we said in a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit a few weeks ago, Texas’s law violates the First Amendment because it compels social media companies to publish speech they don’t want to publish. 


"Worse, the theory of the First Amendment that Texas is advancing in this case would give government broad power to censor and distort public discourse. The Texas law’s transparency provisions present a more difficult constitutional question, but the law’s must-carry provision is plainly unconstitutional and should be struck down."

Social media companies are expected to file an emergency appeal, meaning that this concerning new law isn't quite written in stone yet. Where this story developers from here, however, is anyone's guess.

Featured Image Credit: Meta

Topics: World News, Youtube

Ewan Moore
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