The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas upheld a Texas law that bars social media companies from censoring speech for political views that do not align with their own.
The blow to Facebook, Twitter, and Google is a big win with upcoming midterm elections. These platforms cannot get away with suppressing opposing views they disapprove of anymore.
The District Court focused on social media platforms’ censorship, rules, and violations when making the decision. The law would prohibit censorship conduct from these companies, protecting the user’s right to freedom of speech on the platform.
Governor Greg Abbott has been calling for some social media reform as they have the power to suppress specific accounts as they please.
“A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibits social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of its speaker,” Fifth Circuit Judge Andrew S. Oldham wrote in the opinion.
“The platforms urge us to hold that the statute is facially unconstitutional and hence cannot be applied to anyone at any time and under any circumstances.”
“In urging such sweeping relief, the platforms offer a rather odd inversion of the First Amendment. That Amendment, of course, protects every person’s right to ‘the freedom of speech.'” Oldham said. “But the platforms argue that buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporations unenumerated right to muzzle speech.”
“Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling first amendment right to censor what people say,” he said.
The companies feel that the Texas law violates their First Amendment rights.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted, “BREAKING: I just secured a MASSIVE VICTORY for the Constitution & Free Speech in fed court: #BigTech CANNOT censor the political voices of ANY Texan! The 5th Circuit “reject[s] the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”
The law allows the state of Texas and Texas citizens to sue these companies if they “censor” their user accounts on these platforms based on their viewpoints or geographic location.
The anti-conservative bias from Silicon Valley has been a priority for these companies, coordinating the censorship of users that do not align with their narrative.
BREAKING: I just secured a MASSIVE VICTORY for the Constitution & Free Speech in fed court: #BigTech CANNOT censor the political voices of ANY Texan! The 5th Circuit “reject[s] the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say. pic.twitter.com/UijlzYcv7r
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 16, 2022
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