A US appeals court has rejected a big technology right to regulate online speech

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September 16, 2010 A US appeals court on Friday upheld a Texas law that bars large social media companies from blocking or vetting users based on “opinion.” Content.

The 3-0 decision by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gives the U.S. Supreme Court the power to rule on the law, which conservatives and right-wing commentators say is necessary to protect “Big Tech.” “Rather than suppressing their views.

“Today we reject the idea that corporations have the right to censor what people say,” wrote Justice Andrew Oldham, a former President Donald Trump appointee, in the decision.

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The Texas law was signed into law by the state’s Republican-led legislature and Republican governor.

Tech groups that opposed the law and are on the losing end of Friday’s ruling include NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which counts Meta Platforms ( META.O ) Facebook, Twitter ( TWTR.N ) and Alphabet Inc’s ( GOOGL. ). O) YouTube as a member.

They have tried to protect rights to control user content when they believe it could lead to violence, citing concerns that unregulated platforms could enable extremists such as Nazi sympathizers, terrorists and hostile foreign governments.

The association said on Friday that it does not agree with forcing private companies to give equal treatment to all viewpoints. “‘God Bless America’ and ‘Death to America’ are both views, and it is unwise and unconstitutional for the state of Texas to force a private business to entertain them,” he said in a statement.

January 6, 2021 Twitter’s permanent ban on its platform following the attack on its supporters at the US Capitol has some conservatives calling the social media company’s actions offensive. Twitter cited the “risk of provoking further violence” as the reason.

The Texas law prohibits social media companies with at least 50 million monthly active users from “censoring” users based on “opinion” and allows both users and the Texas attorney general to file lawsuits to enforce the law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed the decision on Twitter, calling it a “major victory for the Constitution and free speech.”

Because the 5th Circuit’s decision conflicts with the 11th Circuit’s decision, aggrieved parties have a stronger case for petitioning the Supreme Court to hear the case.

In May, the 11th Circuit in Atlanta found that much of a similar Florida law violated the companies’ free speech rights and was unenforceable. [nL2N2XF2O2]

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Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Alexia Garmfalvi and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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