US Supreme Court urged to block Texas social media law
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
US Supreme Court urged to block Texas social media law

Two tech industry groups filed an emergency petition Friday seeking to block Texas House Bill 20 (HB20), a bill that would allow users to sue social networks if they believe they were banned from a platform for their political views.

Applicants NetChoice, LLC (NetChoice) and Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) appealed to the Supreme Court two days after “a divided Fifth Circuit panel issued a one-sentence order granting a stay motion filed by the Texas Attorney General five months earlier, allowing him to immediately enforce HB20.”

The emergency filing deems HB20 “an unprecedented assault on the editorial discretion of private websites…. that would fundamentally transform their business models and services.” Additionally, “HB20 prohibits covered social media platforms (many of which are members of NetChoice and CCIA) from engaging in any view- point-based editorial discretion.”

The applicants said that platforms would be compelled by HB20:

[T]o disseminate all sorts of objectionable viewpoints—such as Russia’s propaganda claiming that its invasion of Ukraine is justified, ISIS propaganda claiming that extremism is war- ranted, neo-Nazi or KKK screeds denying or supporting the Holocaust, and encouraging children to engage in risky or unhealthy behavior like eating disorders. HB20 also imposes related burdensome operational and disclosure requirements designed to chill the millions of expressive editorial choices that platforms make each day.