Reinstated: Texas Law Prohibiting Banning Social Media Users for Political Views The Twitter logo. (Amy Osborne / AFP via Getty)
By Eric Mack | Thursday, 12 May 2022 02:02 PM
A Texas law prohibiting social media companies from banning users for their political beliefs has been reinstated by a federal appeals court.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling puts Texas' HB 20 back in effect while the case continues in a lower district court in Texas, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs challenging the law — internet lobbying groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), whose members include Twitter, Facebook, and Google — did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is defending the law.
The groups' lawsuit challenges a law, signed by Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in September, forbidding social media companies with more than 50 million active users per month from banning members based on their political views and requiring them to publicly disclose how they moderate content.
Abbott at the time said the law was in response to "a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas."
Facebook and Twitter banned former President Donald Trump in 2021 for his support of protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Instead of being forced to reinstate banned conservatives, including Trump, the social media companies might be moved to block all Texans on the platforms, according to the report.
"If you live in Texas, expect to see a lot more porn, ISIS-style propaganda content, Chicom propaganda, aggressively anti-Trump supporter content, and much, much more that you undoubtedly don't want to see more of popping up on social media," a GOP strategist opposed to the bill, Liz Mair, told the Examiner.
"I know it sometimes seems like there couldn't be more of this online, but there absolutely could — and if you live in Texas, probably there will be, and soon," she added.
There are other conservatives against the law for fear it effectively gives U.S. influence over private company's platforms. There is a fear the law might backfire and result in more companies providing less access for conservatives to share their views — if not spur more lawsuits to cripple the free market of business and ideas, according to the Examiner.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.