Today, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court blocked a Texas law that would bar social media companies from engaging in most forms of content moderation. Public Knowledge applauds the NetChoice v. Paxton ruling against Texas law HB20.
The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:
“It is good that the Supreme Court blocked HB20, the Texas online speech regulation law. But it should have been unanimous. It is alarming that so many policymakers, and even Supreme Court justices, are willing to throw out basic principles of free speech to try to control the power of Big Tech for their own purposes, instead of trying to limit that power through antitrust and other competition policies. Reining in the power of tech giants does not require abandoning the First Amendment.
“HB20, in addition to being unconstitutional, would have been a disaster for social media users and for public discourse. It would have ordered social media platforms to host and distribute horrific and distasteful content, and to turn a blind eye to hate, abuse, and coordinated misinformation campaigns. The main result of these policies would not be to enhance free speech, but to keep people from speaking by driving them away from toxic platforms.
“Common carriage is an old idea that is still valid today, and some communications providers, such as broadband ISPs, should be regulated in this way. But it is not the correct way to deal with social media platforms, even dominant ones. As a supporter of common carriage where it is appropriate, Public Knowledge will continue to educate policymakers and to advocate for sensible communications policies that enhance the ability of everyday people to be heard, and to join online communities that align with their values.”
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