The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas banning social media companies from censoring users’ viewpoints will be constitutionally allowed, which is a massive blow to Facebook, Twitter, and Google and makes those of us victims of selective censorship victims oh so proud.
The ruling is not only a huge win for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in their efforts to combat what they call censorship of conservative viewpoints by social media companies, but it is likely to set a precedence for the rest of the country’s red states where social media bullies are stifling Americans.
Court ruling: “Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.” https://t.co/NkJUjGl8rR
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 17, 2022
Despite the ruling, the Texas law will not take immediate effect; it will, however, once the appeals court issues its written instructions to the district court that decided the case.
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“Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say,” Andrew Oldham, a Donald Trump appointee who had previously served as AAbbott’sgeneral counsel, wrote in the 5th CCircuit’sdecision.
In a tweet, Paxton said, “just secured a MASSIVE VICTORY for the Constitution & Free Speech in fed court: #BigTech CANNOT censor the political voices of ANY Texan!”
NetChoice’sVice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo said in a statement that his organization plans on appealing the decision, stating that they are convinced that when the Supreme Court hears one of their cases, it will undoubtedly uphold the First Amendment rights of websites, platforms, and apps. Again, the irony.
CCIA President Matt Schruers said they vehemently disagree with the court’s decision. “Forcing private companies to give equal treatment to all viewpoints on their platforms places foreign propaganda and extremism on equal footing with decent Internet users, and places Americans at risk.” I think the general understanding of our constitution has been lost in translation along the way. If they disagree with forcing private companies to treat all viewpoints on their platforms equally, how do they expect the Supreme Court to rule in their favor because their 1st Amendment rights have been violated?
Net choice and the CCIA maintain that the First Amendment protects social media platforms’ ability to curate content, much like a newspaper does.
Judge Oldham dismissed this ridiculous argument, writing in his decision, “We reject the Platforms’ attempt to extract a freewheeling censorship right from the Constitution’sfree speech guarantee. The Platforms are not newspapers. Their censorship is not speech.” Bam.
Edith Jones, a Ronald Reagan appointee who concurred in the largely 2-1 decision, was even more to the point, calling NetChoice’s argument “ludicrous.”
Texas’ law, when it finally goes into effect, could alter how social media companies operate by restricting their ability to police their platforms and forcing them to keep up content that could violate their hate speech rules. But isn’t that the idea of free speech in the first place? It is an amendment meant to protect all Americans, not the select elite who wish to keep Conservative voices silent. A win for Texas may very well mean a win for us all.
Free speech victory – appellate court upholds Texas law saying that disagreement is not a basis for social media censorship
Dinesh discusses this landmark ruling
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