U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued an order to block a Texas social media law from taking effect this month, until a broader hearing on the law’s legality. The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice had co-filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on the law, challenging its constitutionality.
The tech trade groups find the law unconstitutional as it compels private companies to host certain types of content, undermining their First Amendment rights. The law would allow anyone from foreign extremists to fraudsters to sue these social media companies for preventing them from posting dangerous content on their platforms.
“This ruling upholds the First Amendment and protects internet users,” said CCIA President Matt Schruers. “Without this temporary injunction, Texas’s social media law would make the internet a more dangerous place by tying the hands of companies protecting users from abuse, scams, or extremist propaganda.”
However, Gov. Greg Abbott says the law is necessary to prevent censorship from conservative voices.
“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square,” said Gov. Abbott in a statement after the bill was signed. “They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas.”
Earlier this year, the trade groups also challenged a similar Florida law that would ban social media companies from taking steps to protect internet users online. They filed a lawsuit and motion to stop the law, and a Florida judge blocked the law from taking effect.