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Supreme Court Deals Big Blow To Greg Abbott’s Attempt To Punish Social Media Platforms For Removing Dangerous Political Speech

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Greg Abbott

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked a Texas social media law from taking effect that intended to punish online platforms for removing hate speech and dangerous political propaganda.

The vote was 5-to-4, with the court’s three most conservative justices filing a written dissent that would have allowed the Texas law to start, NPR reports.

The Texas law bars Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media sites from blocking content they deem inappropriate.

Gov. Greg Abbott and the proponents of the law argued that the law was a justifiable response to “a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

A federal district court temporarily halted state officials from enforcing the law, saying it likely violates the First Amendment. However, as noted by NPR, a divided panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed enforcement to proceed.

The Big Tech interest groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, filed an emergency request to block the law after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that enjoined it from taking effect.

The groups argued the law would force tech platforms to leave up everything from Russian propaganda to neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan screeds. The groups maintained that the Constitution protects their right to manage platform content, just as it protects a newspaper’s publication decisions.

Florida has passed a similar law attempting to rein in social media companies. But that one has been halted as a legal battle plays out over its implications for the First Amendment and other legal issues.

Read more at NPR.