The Future of Big Tech’s Election Interference is Being Decided at the Supreme Court – EVOL

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday on keeping in place Texas and Florida laws designed to prevent viewpoint-based censorship on social media platforms.

Florida’s law prevents companies from “deplatforming U.S. political candidates or journalistic enterprises” or censoring posts in a way that is “inconsistent and unfair.” Texas’ law prohibits platforms with over 50 million monthly U.S. users from censoring content or users based on viewpoint.

NetChoice, the internet trade group that sued the states, argued the laws violate platforms’ First Amendment rights by preventing them from exercising editorial discretion and compelling their speech by requiring them to host content. The states argued platforms are closer to common carriers like cell phone companies that transmit messages without respect to content.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with NetChoice and blocked Florida’s law, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Texas’ law, arguing corporations do not “have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”

Though multiple justices appeared skeptical the government can compel Twitter and Facebook to host content that violates their terms of service, most seemed to agree there were some applications of the law that could be permissible, like preventing viewpoint-discrimination in Gmail or direct messaging functions on various platforms.



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