Judge tears apart Texas social media law for violating First Amendment

US and Texas flags seen in daytime outside the Texas State Capitol Building.

Enlarge / US and Texas flags flying outside the Texas State Capitol building in Austin. (credit: Getty Images | PA Thompson)

A federal judge yesterday blocked a Texas state law that bans “censorship” on social media platforms, ruling that the law violates the social networks’ First Amendment right to moderate user-submitted content.

“Social media platforms have a First Amendment right to moderate content disseminated on their platforms,” Judge Robert Pitman wrote. He 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.”

Pitman’s ruling granted a preliminary injunction requested by tech industry groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications & Industry Association (CCIA), which sued Texas in US District Court for the Western District of Texas. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and various other tech companies belong to the groups.

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