Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaking into a microphone.

Carrington Tatum/Shutterstock

Controversial Texas social media law already hit with lawsuit

A legal challenge to the controversial law was expected.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Published Sep 23, 2021   Updated Sep 23, 2021, 10:46 am CDT

A controversial social media law signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) earlier this month is already facing a lawsuit claiming that it is unconstitutional.

The law, which prohibits big tech companies from banning or blocking users based on the “viewpoint” of the user, faced intense criticism almost immediately after being signed. A legal challenge was expected, since it is similar to a Florida law that passed earlier this year that was sued and subsequently blocked by a judge.

On Wednesday, NetChoice and the Computer Communications Industry Association (CCIA), two trade groups that sued over Florida’s law, also sued to block Texas’s law. The suit aims for a court to declare the law unconstitutional and issue an injunction to block it.

In their suit, the two groups argue that Texas’s law—like Florida’s before it—is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment rights of companies to choose which speech they host.

“This unconstitutional Texas law threatens all our First Amendment freedoms and will be struck down by the courts the same way the Florida version was. Americans should oppose lawmakers stampeding over the First Amendment rights of private individuals and private online businesses, especially when the aftershocks will ripple beyond just Texas alone,” Carl Szabo, the vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, said in a statement.

NetChoice and the CCIA represent companies including Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo, and others.

Shortly after the Texas bill was signed, NetChoice called it “unconstitutional and dangerous.”

“Given that Florida’s similar law has been enjoined because of constitutional violations, Texas should repeal this flawed attempt to force private businesses to host political speech against their will,” Steve DelBianco, president and CEO of NetChoice, said in a statement.


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*First Published: Sep 23, 2021, 8:32 am CDT