SIIA Statement on Supreme Court Arguments on Texas and Florida Content Moderation Laws

The following statement can be attributed to Chris Mohr, President, Software & Information Industry Association.

The ability for private entities to decide what to publish, and what not to publish, is a fundamental lynchpin of First Amendment freedoms. Today’s arguments to the Supreme Court make it clear that these two laws from Florida and Texas are an abridgement of these rights and would rework years of constitutional law. Parts of Florida and Texas laws would sharply restrict the editorial discretion of social media platforms including SIIA members Meta and Google.

These laws unconstitutionally restrict platforms’ ability to engage in content moderation by restricting their choices about whether and how to present user-generated content to the public, and impermissibly burden constitutionally protected editorial decisions by requiring the creation of an explanation every time a platform makes a decision to remove user content.  The platforms should have the right to decide what content is appropriate and remove content that they believe is harmful to themselves or the public.

Platforms are not like common carriers, which exercise no editorial judgment, and giving the government control over the content as if the platforms were state actors would have extraordinary implications for the internet, the entire U.S. economy, and the Constitution.

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