A federal appeals court ruling has cleared the way for a controversial Texas law that will allow any state resident banned from social media platforms for their political views to sue.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday put on hold a temporary injunction that a federal judge issued in December.
The law will take effect while judges weigh an appeal to the lower court decision.
Two trade groups representing Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Alphabet’s Google and Twitter have sued Texas over the law which was motivated by the social media suspensions of former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the prevailing belief among some conservatives that the companies censor right-wing views.
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They argue that the First Amendment allows social media companies to monitor and remove content on their platforms as they see fit. Social media companies say they don’t target conservatives, only harmful content such as hate speech and extremism that violates their rules.
“Multiple federal judges have affirmed over the years that online platforms have a First Amendment right to decide what appears on their platforms, and these judges chucked that principle overboard,” Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich said in a statement. “The MAGA right has said for years they don’t want platforms to moderate content, and unfortunately we’re about to see their dreams come true.”
Dozens of states are considering legislation to restrict how social media platforms regulate people’s speech, though none has gotten this far. A similar bill in Florida was blocked by a federal judge in June before it could take effect.
Such bills resonate with conservatives who believe their First Amendment rights are violated when social media posts are labeled or removed or when their accounts are banned for violating the policies of social media platforms.
Legal experts have questioned the viability of proposed legislation.