Today, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) called on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which stayed a trial court injunction that prevented the enforcement of HB 20, Texas’s “social media” law. The statute prohibits platforms from censoring any viewpoint based on the views of the user. The trial court had ordered Texas officials not to enforce the law because its vagueness and content discrimination violated the First Amendment. Last Wednesday, without providing any reasoning, a divided three-judge panel stayed the injunction, allowing the statute to enter into force immediately.
SIIA joined a number of industry groups in filing an amicus brief emphasizing the practical harm that would follow from letting the Fifth Circuit decision stand. “They should have named this the ‘No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Act,’” said Chris Mohr, SIIA’s General Counsel and SVP for Intellectual Property. “It makes content moderation practically impossible. For our members and users of social media platforms, the decision has enormous implications for the safety and security of the internet. HB 20 would prevent our members from taking action to curb misinformation and hate speech and allow piracy of copyrighted works to proliferate online. Both liberal and conservative scholars have recognized the problems with the law. It’s our hope that the Court promptly vacates the Fifth Circuit’s decision.”