World’s biggest social media firms challenge state laws blocking them from moderating certain content or banning users, The United States supreme court heard arguments on Monday morning in the first of two cases on its docket for the day that pertain to social media platforms and content moderation – the results of which could have big implications for freedom of speech online. Filed by NetChoice, an association representing the world’s largest social media firms, both cases challenge state laws blocking social media platforms from moderating certain user content or banning users. The court first heard arguments in the case of Moody v NetChoice, which deals with a Florida law passed in 2021 that prevents platforms from “censoring” certain political candidates and media outlets by means of demonetization or removal. The law would also limit platforms’ ability to label and moderate misinformation from specific sources. The second case is NetChoice v Paxton, targeting a Texas law that broadly prohibits social media platforms from “censoring on the basis of user viewpoint, user expression, or the ability of a user to receive the expression of others”. NetChoice, with members including Pinterest, TikTok, X and Meta, has argued these laws violate the first amendment right to free speech of the companies. The association argues that the law unconstitutionally restricts their ability to decide what content is published on their platforms. Both cases situate themselves in a longstanding Republican argument that tech giants actively censor political speech that is conservative in nature. These claims, though debunked by experts repeatedly, have been aggravated by high-profile incidents like the removal of former president Donald Trump from Meta, X (then Twitter) and YouTube in 2021 after the January 6 Capitol riot. Trump previously filed a brief in support of the law at the center of NetChoice v Paxton, urging the court to uphold it.

via guardian: US supreme court hears arguments in social media content moderation cases

siehe auch; Supreme Court seems divided on cases that could lead to a rethinking of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court on Monday appeared to be concerned with state laws enacted in Florida and Texas that would prohibit social media platforms from throttling conservative views, but several of the justices were also unsettled by the possibility that the laws could be applied to other sites, like Uber, without violating the Constitution. The back-and-forth left uncertain whether either side had captured a majority for a broad ruling. Several justices, meanwhile, signaled a desire to send the case back down to lower courts for further review about the potential sweep of the laws’ provisions beyond the social media platforms. The state laws ban online platforms from removing posts that express opinions, such as political content. States say the laws are necessary to keep the social media platforms from discriminating against conservatives. The high-stakes battle gives the nation’s highest court an enormous say in how millions of Americans get their news and information, as well as whether sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok should be able to make their own decisions about how to moderate spam, hate speech and election misinformation. “The First Amendment restricts what the government can do,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. “What the government’s doing here is saying ‘you must do this, you must carry these people – you’ve got to explain if you don’t. That’s not the First Amendment.”

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