First Amendment

Texas law banning censoring of social media users for viewpoints can take effect, 5th Circuit says

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A federal appeals court has allowed a Texas law to take effect that prohibits larger social media platforms from censoring users based on their political views.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans reinstated the law pending appeals, report Reuters, Bloomberg Law and the Texas Tribune.

How Appealing links to news coverage and the May 11 order (via Raffi Melkonian, who tweets at @RMFifthCircuit and is a 2022 ABA Journal Legal Rebel).

The law allows social media users and the Texas attorney general to sue social media platforms for improper censorship. Successful plaintiffs could obtain attorney fees and an injunction.

The 5th Circuit stayed a preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas on Dec. 1, 2021. Pitman had found that the law violated the First Amendment right of social media platforms to exercise editorial discretion and moderate content.

Pitman noted that a federal judge had enjoined a similar Florida law. That case is on appeal.

The 5th Circuit case is NetChoice v. Paxton.

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