The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would determine whether Texas and Florida’s efforts to forbid social media companies from banning users for potentially damaging speech is constitutional.
Both states have enacted laws that many Republican lawmakers claim will prevent tech corporations from censoring conservative views, notably Facebook parent company Meta, X, formerly known as Twitter, and Google’s YouTube.
While the tech industry is represented by organizations like NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, Texas and Florida contend that the rules guarantee all users have equal access to the platforms while the industry claims that they infringe on the corporations’ free speech rights.
The kind of content that is published on tech companies’ platforms has traditionally been within their control, and most apps demand that users accept terms of service.
On how to apply the laws, lower courts have differed. The social media issues will probably be decided by the Supreme Court during its nine-month term, which begins next Monday.
Following the expulsion of former president Donald Trump from Twitter due to his incendiary tweets over the results of the 2020 election and the accompanying violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Texas and Florida passed the laws. Trump is currently the front-runner among Republicans for the presidency in 2024, and his attorneys submitted a brief urging the Supreme Court to hear the case and maintain the Florida statute.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, acquired Twitter for around $44 billion in October before the legislation in Texas and Florida were passed. In November, Musk gave Trump permission to rejoin Twitter.
The Biden administration has additionally requested the Supreme Court’s opinion on whether the legislation in the two states infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the digital corporations. The administration contends in a filing that the Constitution protects tech corporations.