Federal appeals court reinstates Texas social media law
A federal appeals court has reinstated a Texas state law that bans "censorship" on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing Texas to enforce the law while litigation continues. A US District Court judge had granted a preliminary injunction blocking the law in December 2021, ruling that it violates the social networks' First Amendment right to moderate user-submitted content. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed the injunction to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and a panel of three judges issued a ruling May 11 that stayed the preliminary injunction. The ruling did not explain the judges' reasoning. "It is ordered that appellant's opposed motion to stay preliminary injunction pending appeal is granted," the ruling said. The panel ruling was not unanimous, but it didn't say how each judge voted. Tech industry groups Netchoice and CCIA, which sued Texas to block the law, could seek an en banc hearing with all the court's judges or eventually go to the Supreme Court. They could also wait for the trial to play out in US District Court for the Western District of Texas, where Judge Robert Pitman issued the preliminary injunction. Pitman found that the Texas law "compels social media platforms to disseminate objectionable content and impermissibly restricts their editorial discretion" and that the law's "prohibitions on 'censorship' and constraints on how social media platforms disseminate content violate the First Amendment."
“Radical” ruling lets Texas ban social media moderation based on “viewpoint”