The United States Supreme Court announced Friday that it’ll decide whether to allow social media laws in Texas and Florida that prevent social media platforms from blocking content with certain views, the Washington Post reported. These hearings will likely have major implications for online free speech and the future of U.S. elections.
While they differ in the details, these Republican-led state laws regulate social media platforms’ content-moderation policies. The Texas law prevents platforms from removing content based on users’ viewpoints, while the Florida one prevents platforms from banning politicians and candidates, Politico reported.
Conservatives claim that content containing their perspectives is removed from platforms at a higher rate than more left-leaning content, and thus see a need for these laws. Tech giants and trade groups, however, claim these laws are unconstitutional and violate the First Amendment.
The Texas and Florida statutes came about in the aftermath of the 2020 election and the insurrection on January 6, 2021, which resulted in Facebook, Instagram, X, and Twitch banning former President Donald Trump. Since then, X and Meta have reinstated his accounts.
Both laws are currently blocked, according to Politico, and SCOTUS likely won’t decide whether they’re constitutional until next year. In 2022, SCOTUS explicitly stopped the Texas law.
The next Supreme Court term begins Monday, the Associated Press reported, with several other cases added to its docket including a dispute over the FBI’s “no-fly” list and a copyright case involving rapper Flo Rida.