Social media has been at the center of much controversy as of late. From controversial Twitter bans to Facebook fact-checkers, the past few years have been tough for modern social media platforms. As a result, Republicans in the state of Texas are sponsoring a law that would effectively block what they call political censorship.
As expected, some of the biggest names in the technology space, including Meta, Twitter, and Google, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law from taking effect. According to their recent filing, the law would prevent them from “engaging in any viewpoint-based editorial discretion.” They also claim that it would spur on terrorist threats, hate speech, and posts aimed at minors.
However, a judge quickly issued an injunction against the law, citing the social media companies’ rights under the First Amendment. While the injunction was eventually lifted by a federal appeals court, it was done so without giving any sort of reasoning for the decision.
This isn’t the first time that lawmakers have targeted the social media landscape. In June 2021, a proposed law would seek to punish sites like Meta and Twitter for banning established politicians and other political candidates. While a federal judge ultimately blocked the law, it just goes to show the dedication of Republican lawmakers. The First Amendment was also cited by the judge in this case.
Lifting the Injunction
As mentioned, the reason for lifting the recent injunction is unclear. Nonetheless, it certainly represents movement in the right direction for Republican lawmakers and those who support the proposed law. If officially enacted, it will effectively mean that social media platforms will lose the ability to censor or remove hate speech and other forms of highly offensive content.
The bill itself was originally sponsored by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. According to him, he is simply trying to protect citizens from “wrongful censorship on social media platforms.” Not only would it block any future censorship actions by modern social media sites, but the law also gives residents the ability to sue social media companies in order to have their previously bloc ked accounts reinstated.
It’s important to note that this comes after former president Donald Trump tried to have his Twitter ban lifted – an attempt that was unsuccessful. While Elon Musk is considering a purchase of Twitter, and he has joked about reinstating Trump’s account, it’s not clear if he was serious or not. It’s also unclear if the deal will go through as originally planned.
Trump was banned from Twitter on Jan 8, 2021, just days after he urged his supported to storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. At the time the ban was issued, Twitter revealed that the ban was to quell “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Moreover, Donald Trump has stated that he wouldn’t return to the popular social media platform even if his ban was lifted. Whether or not he’s committed to that notion remains to be seen.
Texas Courts Want to Block Social Media From Banning Political Posts
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