HB 20, a Texas law that would allow social media users (or Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton) to sue social media companies with more than 50 million users if they moderate content based on “point from the user’s or another person’s point of view” or “from the point of view represented”. in the user expression. HB20 is back on hold after the Supreme Court blocked the law in a 5-4 ruling, sending it back to the district courts.
The decision came after Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges removed a temporary warrant injunction.
The seesaw of this case is frustrating and concerning for those involved and those who may be affected later.
To be clear, the law is contested.
First Amendment scholars said it is not the role of a social media platform to host all the talk. Tech industry groups have said HB 20 will result in onerous legal costs for companies forced to defend against multiple lawsuits. They also challenged the constitutionality of the law.
However, the constitution alone rarely stops Attorney General Paxton, so here we are.
So what does this mean for business owners in Texas now?
Wait and see, and be aware.
Two tech industry groups, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice, are challenging the constitutionality of the law. The SCOTUS decision allows this challenge to continue.
In the quagmire of madness we’ve seen in unmoderated online social spaces, it’s important to know researchers seek the best way forward. The social media space is yet another new frontier. The way disinformation is disseminated and the emotions triggered by groups that have decided to use these media spaces as weapons cannot be ignored. Not by business owners now or those looking to make their way into the sometimes profitable social media start-up. Keeping abreast of current research and law is essential.
However, this new social media landscape also brings new laws.
HB 20 will not be the end of states’ attempts to stop social media platforms from moderating speech. Business leaders need to be aware. Many were caught off guard when the judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on HB 20. Had the Supreme Court not intervened, the law would now be in effect in Texas. And as we have often seen, as the law is in Texas, so is the law elsewhere.
Keeping up with the changes of the past few months has been challenging to say the least, but it’s imperative that business leaders do.