“Today, we reject the notion that companies can use their First Amendment rights to censor what people say at will,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Judge Andrew S. Oldham wrote in the split ruling. The law was previously blocked from taking effect in May by a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically targets government interference with freedom of speech, and Congress cannot enact any law that takes away freedom of speech or the press. The Texas law, sponsored by Republicans and signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in September, allows state residents to sue people who have more than 50 million monthly active users in the U.S. company, asking for the account to be reinstated. Abbott’s office praised the law, known as HB20, for protecting Texans “from false censorship on social media platforms.”
Conservative critics have accused social media companies of censoring content for ideological reasons, a claim the social media companies have repeatedly denied. Critics of the law counter that it would force social media companies to leave offensive content, hate speech and misinformation on their platforms.