Supreme Court temporarily blocks Texas social media law

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked Texas from enacting the immediate enforcement a new state law which aims to ban major social media platforms from suppressing user posts based on the content of what they say.

The court, in a brief written order, granted an emergency motion by two leading tech industry trade groups to stay the law while they challenge it in court. The groups warned that the law would unleash a spate of hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.

The court’s order came by a vote of 5 to 4. As is usual with court emergency orders, the majority did not explain their rationale. Justice Samuel Alito filed a dissent, which was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. Judge Elena Kagan also disagreed, but she neither endorsed Alito’s opinion nor submitted her own.

Texas regulations prohibit social media platforms with at least 50 million monthly active users from censoring users based on their views and apply to sites like Facebook FB,
Instagram, Pinterest PINS,
TikTok, Twitter TWTR,
Vimeo and Alphabet’s GOOGL,

The law allows Texas residents or anyone doing business in the state to sue platforms for alleged violations and obtain injunctions to remove content. It also confers the power of enforcement to the Attorney General. The law allows plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees, but not damages.

An expanded version of this report appears on

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Brian Lowry

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