A us judge has banned a Texas state internet law that banned large internet companies from censoring user content on the basis of political bias.
Texas' HB 20 law, passed a few months ago, bans online platforms with over 50 million monthly active
users from censoring content based on a users' viewpoint. The law focuses on restricting social platforms' ability to censor content, although it contains some provision to get illegal content removed faster. Judge Robert Pitman granted an injunction
filed by NetChoice and CCIA to put HB 20 on hold until the case is complete. The judge argues that the law violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies.
The judge insisted that the government cannot dictate what content a social media
company is allowed or not allowed to publish.
Private companies that use editorial judgment to choose whether to publish content -- and, if they do publish content, use editorial judgment to choose what they want to publish -- cannot be compelled
by the government to publish other content.
According to the court, viewpoint discrimination can be deemed editorial discretion, which is a principle protected by the First Amendment. The law also requires large social media companies to
provide detailed reports of their content moderation decisions. The court ruled that requirement is inordinately burdensome given the unfathomably large numbers of posts on these sites and apps.