newYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
- Advertisement -

A lawsuit challenging a Texas law prohibiting approach-based censorship by social media companies could fundamentally change the way Big Tech firms are regulated nationwide if the statute is upheld by the Supreme Court, where It is expected to land.

HB 20, a Texas bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, says that social media platforms with more than 50 million monthly users – including Google, Facebook and Twitter – should be able to communicate with users based on attitude expression. Cannot censor or limit speech. Social platforms are challenging the law in court, citing First Amendment protections — but have so far been unsuccessful, with a federal court just last week deciding to uphold the law.


“Today we reject the idea that corporations have an independent First Amendment way to censor what people say,” wrote Fifth Circuit Judge Andrew S. Oldham.

The case in HB20 centers around the contention that social media platforms are “common carriers”, such as AT&T, FedEx or American Airlines, which would make them subject to stricter rules such as non-discrimination laws, as they are a common carrier. dominate the market for public service. ,

- Advertisement -

In a sense, companies will be seen as traditional public square soap boxes and forced to abide by tradition and the constitutional obligation that people be allowed to step on a platform – in this case an online – And say what they think.

Federal Court rules Big Tech ‘doesn’t have First Amendment right to censor’

Rachel Boward, a conservative policy analyst and senior technical columnist for The Federalist, believes the Supreme Court’s “definite form” to hear the case and deliver “the legal structure for an entirely new, uncharted territory”. from one wish”.

Boward told Fox News Digital, “The court will only recognize what we all already know, which is how these companies access the market, how we talk to each other, how public opinion is formed. has become an integral part of it.” , “A common carriage tradition would fit what these companies now have into our broader values ​​and traditions of how we treat companies like this.”

Jonathan Turley, constitutional scholar and law professor at George Washington University who is a Fox News contributor, says the Big Tech platform has “an insatiable appetite for censorship”, and that the “common bearer” approach is not only available to the courts but also to censorship. But it would also be beneficial for companies – arguing that their push for censorship has cost them and shareholders dearly.

However, Casey Mattox, vice president of legal strategy at American for Prosperity, says the law works against free speech: “It’s important to promote more free speech online. But this law would work against the goal it originally intended.” Will change social media and really make it harder for Americans to have a voice online.”

NetChoice, a non-profit group representing the social media platform in challenge against the Texas law, said in a statement, “We are convinced that when the US Supreme Court hears one of our cases, it will be the first of the websites, platforms, Will retain the amendment rights, and apps.”

Turley argues that it may be difficult for the High Court to debate corporations’ right to freedom of speech, but the case is exposing flaws in the mega-platform’s First Amendment defense, and that’s what the companies are saying in court. , that is very different from what they publicly present.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

The Latest in a Line of Big Tech Regulation Goals Since Radio Made Waves at Social Media Congress

“The interesting thing about the case is that it has forced these companies to defend the censorship. They are admitting that they are, in fact, speaking out through their censorship programs.”

Turley says this is “one final break” from the origins of these big tech companies, arguing that when they were created, social media platforms presented themselves as “an Internet version of the telephone company”. did.

“It’s like being on a telephone call and the telephone company says, ‘I’m listening to your call, and I’m going to end your call right now because I don’t agree with you.’ And they’re basically saying are, ‘That’s exactly what we’re doing’.”

Turley and Boward say that while the Supreme Court can lay the groundwork for this new framework of social media platform regulation, Congress will eventually need to fill in the details if the ban on attitude-based commenting is national.

Supreme Court in Washington, DC

Blake Masters expected to target big tech in Senate, but ‘pessimistic’ bills to be signed under Biden

Turley says Democrats may lead Standing in the way: “The problem is that the Democratic Party has become clearly anti-free-speech in its position on the Internet.”

“As a lifelong Democrat, I am amazed at the extent to which the Democratic Party has gone from an advocate for free speech to an advocate of censorship,” Turley says.

With this fall, the case can be appealed to the Supreme Court.