The law also does not cover sites dedicated to news, sports, entertainment, and other information not produced by their users in the first place. Covered sites are largely prohibited from removing posts based on the views they express, with the exception of sexual exploitation of children, incitement to criminal activity, and some threats of violence.
According to two trade groups who have challenged the law, the measure “will force platforms to publish all kinds of objectionable views — such as Russian propaganda claiming its invasion of Ukraine is justified, ISIS propaganda claiming extremism is justified, neo-Nazis or the KKK. Monkeys deny or support The Holocaust, and encourages children to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior such as eating disorders.”
The law requires platforms to be treated as public carriers that must transmit essentially all messages of their users rather than publishers in editorial discretion.
In a separate case last week, the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Largely supported Preliminary injunction against similar Florida law.
“Social media platforms exercise editorial judgment that is expressive in nature,” Judge Kevin C. Newsom Books for the board. “When platforms choose to remove users or posts, not prioritize content in viewers’ feeds or search results, or penalize violations of their Community Standards, they are engaging in First Amendment protected activity.
The First Amendment generally prohibits government restrictions on speech based on content and point of view. In their emergency application to the Supreme Court, the trade groups challenging Texas law said they run counter to these principles at every turn. “HB 20 is a categorically unconstitutional law that imposes on the government preferred speech from selected private entities and would require massive disruptions to the global operations of covered websites,” the app said.
emergency response appKen Paxton, Texas Attorney General, wrote that “Platforms are twenty-first-century descendants of the telegraph and telephone companies: that is, the traditional public carriers.” This means, as Mr. Paxton wrote, that they must generally accept all clients.