A controversial Texas law that would open social media companies up to lawsuits from aggrieved users just notched a surprise win. A trio of federal appeals court judges issued the ruling Wednesday, which pauses a temporary injunction that blocked the law from taking effect last year.
The law, HB 20, would prohibit tech platforms from removing or restricting content based on “the viewpoint of the user or another person” or “the viewpoint represented in the user’s expression” — some extremely broad criteria with a lot of room for interpretation.
Two tech industry groups, NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, pursued an injunction against the law last year, which was granted in December. During a hearing about HB 20 on Monday, one of the judges inexplicably told the trade groups that their tech industry clients were “internet providers” not websites.
“Encouraging lawsuits against companies exercising their First Amendment rights would violate the Constitution and put Texans at greater risk online,” the CCIA said during oral arguments on Monday. CCIA President Matt Schruers slammed Wednesday’s ruling for violating the First Amendment.