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Hello fellow citizens of the internet! Andrew here. Welcome to today’s edition of Internet Insider.
Today’s top stories include reports about internet rights, yet another conspiracy theory friendly social media platform, and the latest “That One Sound” column from our Senior Reporter Audra. Plus, if you scroll down a bit we’ve got at least two “Karen” stories for you.
After that, I dive into the latest legal drama surrounding the highly controversial and criticized Texas social media law.
Let’s dive into the news.
INTERNET RIGHTS: Long-time readers will know just how long the nomination process of Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s FCC nominee, has dragged out. It’s been full of obstruction, smear campaigns, and feet dragging by Democrats. If you want to catch up on all of the twists and turns—plus see how the whole process could impact issues like net neutrality—check out this great rundown by our Contributing Reporter Jacob Seitz.
THAT ONE SOUND: In her “That One Sound” column this week, our Senior Reporter Audra dives into how a simple sound of a woman saying “30,000?” has become popular on TikTok and the refrain for the soul-crushing cost of living these days. Check out her column here.
CONSPIRACY: A fringe QAnon supporter launched a new social media service for conspiracy theorists called QPatriots that promises to adhere to “free speech absolutism.” Our Tech Reporter Mikael breaks it all down here.
Tech firms want Supreme Court to block the much-criticized Texas social media law
Tech industry trade organizations who are fighting Texas’s much-criticized social media law have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in and grant an emergency stay on a lower court’s ruling last week that enabled the law to go into effect.
The law, which was almost immediately hit with criticism and called “unconstitutional” after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed it, prohibits companies from banning or blocking users based on their “viewpoint.” The law applies to platforms with more than 50 million active users, a clear shot at big tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and others.
In December of last year, the law was blocked by a federal judge, who said that it violated the First Amendment. However, earlier this month the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on that decision, allowing for the law’s rules to take effect.
The Fifth Circuit’s decision was somewhat of a shock, as the trade groups had successfully blocked a similar law that Florida had passed.
But in the wake of the Fifth Circuit’s decision, the trade groups representing tech companies decided to appeal to the Supreme Court. Specifically, they are asking the Supreme Court for an emergency stay on that decision and block Texas from enforcing the law.
“Texas HB 20 strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content,” Chris Marchese, the counsel for one of the trade groups NetChoice, said in a statement. “The First Amendment prohibits Texas from forcing online platforms to host and promote foreign propaganda, pornography, pro-Nazi speech, and spam.”
Marchese continued: “Left standing, Texas HB 20 will turn the First Amendment on its head—to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it.”
As Protocol notes, the decision will rest with Justice Samuel Alito, who can decide whether to rule on the requested stay unilaterally or to have the full court rule on it.
Of course, the full court has Justice Clarence Thomas on it, who has already made it clear that he want’s the court to tackle Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Section 230 is a foundational law of the internet, which holds that all websites with user-generated content can’t not be held liable for what users post.
Despite its outsized importance to the web as we know it, it has become a boogeyman for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
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👀 TODAY ONLINE
Here are some key dispatches from across the ‘net.
✈️ Cringe. A woman on a plane said in a viral video that a fellow passenger attempted to flirt with her via the seatback screen’s messaging feature.
📝 In a viral video, a hotel employee shared the $20 tip they got from someone staying in a room along with a note that said they had COVID so they should “disinfect the room as much as possible/be careful.”
🗣️ A Karen was caught on video arguing with a restaurant manager after her card was allegedly declined at the restaurant the night before.
📪 Well, this is awkward. A woman on TikTok claims that a postal worker got her boyfriend’s number from his mailbox and then texted him to say he’s cute.
💪 Noom claims its cognitive behavioral therapy and one-on-one weight loss expertise will help users lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, so we tried the app out for ourselves.*
💼 A TikTok user went viral after sharing a story about getting a job interview for a “super cool and apparently woke job” only to become disinterested after they learned that the job has mandatory pre-employment drug testing. Many people cheered the user for not taking the job.
📸 A woman on a plane says she caught her seatmate taking photos of her feet and editing them in front of her while she was on a Delta Airlines flight.
⚰️ In “Death on the Internet,” the Daily Dot explores how the digital self can live on in the internet’s memory—even after the actual self has abandoned it.
*The Daily Dot may receive a commission in connection with purchases of products or services featured here.
👋 BEFORE YOU GO
A video has gone viral showing a male “Karen” getting upset and storming out of a dry-cleaning store after the employee asked him if he was just dropping off the clothes. That simple question apparently upset the man, who shouted at her and walked out of the store.
Now Playing: 🎶“America You’re Freaking Me Out” by The Menzingers🎶