Florida, Texas Social Media Laws Debated By Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard two issues concerning laws limiting social media in Texas and Florida.

The High Court reviewed the laws that seek to prevent social media companies from banning users because of their political beliefs.

If the laws are upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, businesses will have a difficult time regulating online free speech.

A senior counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute, Scott Wilkens, pointed out the historical significance of the U.S. Supreme Court in reviewing the social media laws.

“These cases are potentially of enormous, enormous scope,” Wilkens said. “This will be the first time that the Supreme Court really weighs in on the First Amendment rights of social media platforms, and therefore, the shape and contours of free speech online.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said that despite the court’s decision, his administration will stress every option to protect online free speech.

“We knew this day would come,” the Florida governor said. “Whatever the court decides, we’re going to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to ensure that people have the right to speak in these public forums.”

Republican lawmakers in states across the U.S. enacted measures to protect online free speech following several social media companies’ decisions to ban users with conservative beliefs.

The fight against Big Tech companies grew when social media platforms, such as X, formerly known as Twitter and Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, disabled former President Donald Trump’s account in the days following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol protests.

The former president’s X account was restored in November 2022. In January 2023, Meta granted Trump access to the platform.

NetChoice litigation director Chris Marchese said the government should not engage in online censorship.

“Online services have a well-established First Amendment right to host, curate, and share content as they see fit,” he said in a statement, “The internet is a vital platform for free expression, and it must remain free from government censorship.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to decide on the social media laws before the end of June 2024, according to One America News (OAN).

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