Close this menu

Are internet companies ‘common carriers’ of content? Courts diverge on key question

If social media sites and search engines are common carriers – or could be deemed common carriers as a matter of state law – then legislatures in Florida, Texas and Ohio would be empowered to impose content regulations without meeting a stringent test to justify restrictions on the companies’ 1st Amendment rights. As the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals explained last week in NetChoice LLC v. Attorney General, State of Florida, “Labeling social-media platforms ‘common carriers’” would allow states “to evade (or at least minimize) First Amendment scrutiny.”