The emergency filing Friday seeking to block the Texas law -- HB20 -- comes two days after a divided federal appeals court let it
“The 5th Circuit short-circuited the normal review process, authorizing Texas to inflict a massive change to leading global websites,” the tech groups said in the filing. “The cost of revamping the websites’ operations would undo years of work and billions of dollars spent on developing some platforms’ current systems.”
The request is addressed to Justice
The industry groups,
The trade groups claim the law by hosting extremist views they risk boycotts from advertisers not wanting to be associated with such content.
“In the past, YouTube and Facebook ‘lost millions of dollars in advertising revenue’ from advertisers who did not want their advertisements next to ‘extremist content and hate speech,”’ the groups said in the filing.
The law “is an assault on the First Amendment -- and we remain confident the courts will strike it down as unconstitutional,” NetChoice general counsel
US District Judge
The lower court rejected the state’s argument that platforms don’t get such protections because they’re not newspapers and that artificial intelligence is sometimes used to make moderating decisions. Pitman said in his December ruling that the editorial discretion at social media platform doesn’t “fit neatly with our 20th Century vision of a newspaper editor hand-selecting an article to publish.”
“It is indeed new, and exciting -- or frightening, depending on who you ask -- that algorithms do some of the work that a newspaper publisher previously did, but the core question is still whether a private company exercises editorial discretion over the dissemination of content, not the exact process used,” Pitman wrote.
The Supreme Court has a scant track record on cases involving social media and content moderation, although Justice
A different federal appeals court, the Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, is considering a similar Florida law.
The case is NetChoice v. Paxton, 21-51178, 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals (New Orleans).
--With assistance from
Steve Stroth, Joe Schneider
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