The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) welcomes the Supreme Court’s ruling today, which blocks the Texas social media law H.B. 20 from going into effect. CDT filed an amicus brief with a coalition of human rights organizations opposing the law earlier this month.
“The Supreme Court’s action to block Texas’s reckless social media law from taking effect is good news for users and the public,” said CDT President and CEO Alexandra Reeve Givens. “We need social media companies to be able to take action against hate, harassment, and disinformation without fearing litigation.”
As CDT told the court in a brief last week, filed with other leading digital rights groups, the Texas law threatens to unwind years of work by advocates around the world to get social media companies to take hate, harassment, and disinformation seriously. The law’s practical result would be to discourage websites from moderating certain content for fear of lawsuits accusing them of bias and censorship.
For example, sites that forbid encouraging suicide or promoting terrorism but allow other discussions of these topics would face the threat of lawsuits. Policies that bar demeaning people based on race, religion, or other characteristics but allow discussions of racism or sharing your religious beliefs would also be banned under the Texas law.
“Ultimately, the Texas law should be struck down for violating the First Amendment. Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s decision will stop the law taking effect while it can be judged on the merits,” said Givens.
CDT is a 27-year-old 501(c)3 nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights to put democracy and human rights at the center of the digital revolution. It works to promote democratic values by shaping technology policy and architecture, with a focus on equity and justice.