Tech industry trade organizations NetChoice and the Computer Communications Industry Association have appealed directly to the Supreme Court for an emergency stay of the Texas social media law known as HB 20. This law creates liability for content moderation decisions based on “the view of the user” or another person. It could make it impossible to impose hate speech bans or even moderate platforms. HB 20 was successfully blocked in court late last year, and then unblocked by an appeals court on Wednesday without explanation.
“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content,” said NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese in a press release. The First Amendment forbids Texas from requiring online platforms to promote and host foreign propaganda, pornography and spam .
In the appeals hearing preceding the court’s decision to unblock HB 20, the three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit appeared to be confused about many of the basic terms being used — one judge seemed to think that Twitter was not a website, and another seemed to think there was no difference between a phone company like Verizon and a social media company like Twitter or Facebook.
NetChoice won a similar case in Florida last year, making the constitutional issues in this case even more pressing to address.
NetChoice’s emergency stay request will be reviewed by Justice Samuel Alito, who might decide un
. In which case the Fifth Circuit would have assembled an even larger panel to review its decision, the CCIA has chosen to bypass “en banc review”. NetChoice’s emergency stay request will be reviewed by Justice Samuel Alito, who might decide un