Texas Joins Coalition Supporting Florida Ban on Big Tech Censorship | Louisiana
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Attorney General Paxton led a coalition of 10 states in filing an amicus brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Florida’s law that regulates censorship on Big Tech social media platforms. The law, similar to the one just passed in Texas, requires Big Tech platforms to consistently enforce content moderation practices and disclosures to affected users.
“The regulation of big tech censorship will inevitably suppress the ideas and beliefs of millions of Americans,” Paxton said. “I will defend the First Amendment and ensure that Conservative voices have the right to be heard. Big tech doesn’t have the power to control the expressions of people they just don’t agree with politically. “
Joining Texas in memory are the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana and South Carolina.
The Texas Bill, HB 20, was promulgated on September 2 by Governor Greg Abbott in a ceremony with the bill’s sponsors, State Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Briscoe Cain, in addition to the Sens state. Charles Perry, Dawn Buckingham and Angela Paxton.
Abbott added legislation to tackle social media censorship on the agenda for the Second Special Legislative Session in August. The new law prevents social media companies with more than 50 million monthly users from banning users based on their political views. The law also requires social media to implement several disclosures and consumer protection processes related to the management of content on applicable sites. The social media sites in question must, under the new law, disclose their content management and moderation policies and create a complaints and appeals process. The new law also prohibits email service providers from preventing the transmission of content-based email messages.
“We will always stand up for free speech in Texas,” Abbott said. “Social media websites have become our modern public place. They are a place of healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely – but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative views and ideas. This is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas. I thank Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Briscoe Cain and the Texas Legislature for ensuring that House Bill 20 reaches my office in the Second Special Session. “
Florida SB 7072 – the law at issue in the appeal – contains provisions similar to Texas HB 20. Its neutrality provision requires social media platforms to “enforce censorship, deplatform, and phantom ban standards consistently among its users on the platform.” “
In May, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enacted SB 7072 to protect free speech and allow censored Floridians to sue two major social media companies: Facebook and Twitter. The law allows the state to fine the two platforms in the thousands of dollars every day they suspend or ban political candidates.
The bill only applied to large social media companies like Facebook and Twitter and contained an exemption for Internet platforms “operated by a business that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex,” which, according to critics, does not apply to Disney or NBCUniversal because businesses are essential to the state’s tourism sector.
In June, District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction preventing the state from applying nearly all parts of the law. He ruled: “Balancing the exchange of ideas between private speakers is not a legitimate government interest. [The law] prima facie discriminates between otherwise identical speakers: between social media providers who do or do not meet the size requirements of the legislation and are or are not jointly owned with a theme park. The legislation does not survive scrutiny. “
But the coalition argues that Hinkle’s analysis is “riddled with errors.” He deviated from the start by concluding that SB 7072 regulates speech, while this law instead regulates behaviors that are not protected by the First Amendment: the arbitrary application by social media platforms of their moderation policies. content ”, according to the brief.
The district court also confused SB 7072 with a content-based law while it is content neutral, they say, and the court “completely ignored states’ long-standing compelling interest in guarantee their citizens access to the free flow of information and ideas.
If the court’s “flawed analysis” is not corrected by the appeals court, argues the coalition, “the flawed legal theories” endorsed by the district court could be adopted by other courts across the country and put in place. jeopardize the laws of other states such as HB 20.