Content Moderation

09/22/2021

Tech Groups Sue Texas Over Social Media Censorship Law

Steve DelBianco
Steve DelBianco President and CEO

Two technology trade groups sued Texas on Wednesday to block a new state law punishing social media platforms for allegedly censoring people over their political views.

Net Choice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association jointly filed the lawsuit in federal court alleging that House Bill 20 violates the First Amendment by forcing companies to give a platform to speech they don’t want to host.

“State governments cannot force social media – Net Choice and CCIA member companies – to carry content they don’t want to carry,” said Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of Net Choice. “It violates the community standards that they use to curate a community of online content that suits their advertisers and audience.”

DelBianco said the law, as written, would prevent social media platforms from banning what he called “awful but lawful” speech, to the detriment of underage users.

“YouTube could no longer restrict a user-posted video that included hateful, racist, sexual content that was completely inappropriate for children,” DelBianco said. “It could not mark it as restricted mode, even in Texas homes where parents had voluntarily turned on restricted mode, specifically to protect their children.”

The executive added that there were a number of other instances of protected speech that nonetheless violate the companies’ terms and conditions, including COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, antisemitism, and pornography.

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