First Amendment lawyer Lyrissa Lidsky weighs in on a recently upheld social media censorship law in Texas that would bar platforms with more than 50 million users from removing content with political viewpoints. A different circuit court in Florida filed a preliminary injunction against a similar law. Since both federal appeals courts disagreed, only the Supreme Court can decide if the platforms have a First Amendment right to censor, or if they don’t.
On December 1st, a federal court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against Texas’ social media law, HB 20, for violating platforms’ First Amendment right to moderate the third-party content they disseminate. "HB 20 prohibits virtually all content moderation, the very tool that social media platforms employ to make their platforms safe, useful, and enjoyable for users," U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman wrote.
Two Internet trade associations are suing Texas and its Attorney General Ken Paxton over a recent law that regulates social media companies’ ability to remove users from their platforms. Filed on September 22nd in the U.S. District Court for the District of Texas Austin Division, NetChoice and Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which represent Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others, contend that House Bill 20 violates the First Amendment.
Congressman Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) defamation lawsuit over an Esquire article about his family’s dairy farm was reinstated in part on September 15th by a three-judge panel of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel reasoned that Nunes’ complaint stated a plausible defamation by implication claim that should survive a motion to dismiss.
On August 23, a Virginia judge dismissed Rep. Devin Nunes’ (CA-R) $250 million dollar libel suit against Republican political strategist Elizabeth A. Mair. Nunes sued Mair in March 2019 for allegedly conspiring with his political enemies to spread false information about him before he ran for reelection in 2018.
On July 9th, nine constituents dismissed their lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton after he agreed to unblock them from his Twitter account. The nine plaintiffs, who were represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute, sued Paxton in April after he blocked them for criticizing some of his policies.
On July 7th, former President Donald Trump filed three separate class action lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube, claiming that the social media platforms censor him and other conservatives.
On June 30th, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida Tallahassee Division granted a request for a preliminary injunction barring Florida from enforcing a new law that substantially limits social media companies' ability to moderate their platforms.