AUSTIN, Texas — Two tech industry organizations have sued the State of Texas over a law that aims to restrict what social media companies can censor on their platforms.
In early September, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 20, the social media censorship bill, into law. The law prevents social media companies with more than 50 million monthly users from banning users for political content posted.
The law also requires several consumer protection disclosures and processes related to content management on the social media sites to which the bill applies, according to Abbott's office. These sites must disclose their content management and moderation policies and implement a complaint and appeals process for the content they remove, providing a reason for the removal and a review of their decision.
The sites also must review and remove illegal content within 48 hours. House Bill 20 also prohibits email service providers from impeding the transmission of email messages based on content, Abbott's office said.
The lawsuit claims there is a precedent that the government may not "tell Twitter or YouTube what videos to post; or tell Facebook or Google what content to favor." However, the lawsuit goes on to say that's exactly what the Texas law is doing. The lawsuit said the law prohibits social media platforms from exercising editorial discretion over content those platforms disseminate on their own privately owned websites and applications.
The trade organizations said this is problematic because social media companies will not be able to protect themselves, users and advertisers from harmful content.
NetChoice and CCIA sued Florida over similar legislation, the organizations said.
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