A recently introduced Texas law targeted major social media companies. Titled HB 20, this law would have limited the companies’ ability to remove posts and ban accounts. However, this deal has now been temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court, meaning it will be a while longer until it can potentially go into effect.
The Supreme Court ruled today to temporarily block HB 20 in a 5-4. With the members of the majority vote being Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, this is a fairly uncommon alignment for the Supreme Court. This comes after the tech industry requested the emergency block. Among those that moved to deny the request were Clarence Thomas, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito.
While the members of the majority neglected to provide a statement on the matter, Alto did give words following the ruling, as shared by CNN. He called HB 20 a “groundbreaking” law that sets its sights on “the power of dominant social media corporations to shape public discussion of the important issues of the day.” He went on to criticize the majority voters, stating that it was too early to decide to block the law.
Opposers of HB 20 have stated that the law violates the First Amendment rights of the platform holders, though the state of Texas disagrees with this sentiment. NetChoice’s Chris Marchese approved of the ruling in a quote we spotted on The Verge. “We are relieved that the First Amendment, open internet, and the users who rely on it remain protected from Texas’s unconstitutional overreach.”
HB 20 is just the latest move to take legal action against social media companies amid growing concern of their power in society. Since this is a temporary block, it’s not the end of HB 20. We’ll be monitoring the situation, and you can expect to read any important updates here on Shacknews.