There is a thin line between exercising your rights – freedom of speech and expression and openly criticizing the government or cyberbullying. Significant public resistance to proposed content restriction policies has prevented the more extreme measures used in some other countries from taking hold in the U.S. In this article, we will be discussing laws in relation to the same.
“Again, the Fifth Circuit’s more recent decision, which is known as Murthy v. Missouri, would devastate a Democratic administration’s ability to ask media companies to voluntarily remove content. Meanwhile, the NetChoice decision holds that Texas’s Republican government may compel those same companies to adopt a government-mandated editorial policy.”
Two U.S. Courts of Appeals have recently taken different positions on the validity of state laws restricting internet services’ ability to moderate user content. “In May, the Eleventh Circuit largely upheld a preliminary injunction ruling Florida’s Senate Bill 7072 likely unconstitutional, preventing the law from taking effect. This ruling contrasts with a September ruling from the Fifth Circuit rejecting a challenge to a somewhat similar Texas law, H.B. 20. As explained in more detail in this Legal Sidebar, the two opinions take different views of whether these laws likely violate the constitutional free speech rights of online platforms. This Legal Sidebar begins by reviewing the relevant constitutional background, then explains both states’ laws and the First Amendment aspects of the legal challenges to those laws.”
“Moody v. NetChoice, LLC and NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton are pending United States Supreme Court cases related to protected speech under the First Amendment, content moderation by interactive service providers on the Internet under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and two state laws passed in Florida and Texas that sought to limit this moderation. Both cases are challenges to state laws restricting content moderation on social media websites. The cases are expected to be heard during the Court’s 2023–24 term.”
- In the case of NetChoice Vs. Paxton, “A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibits large social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of its speaker. The platforms urge us to hold that the statute is facially unconstitutional and hence cannot be applied to anyone at any time and under any circumstances.”
- Packingham v. North Carolina, Twitter unapologetically argues that it could turn around and ban all pro-LGBT speech for no other reason than its employees want to pick on members of that community.
- In the case of Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, the primary holding was that Newspapers are not required to publish replies to an editorial with which people, such as the subject of the editorial, may disagree.
“CCIA President Matt Schruers called the court’s decision to tackle the case encouraging. “It is high time that the Supreme Court resolves whether governments can force websites to publish dangerous content. Telling private websites, they must give equal treatment to extremist hate isn’t just unwise, it is unconstitutional, and we look forward to demonstrating that to the court,” Schruers said.”
 "ONI Regional Overview: North America" Archived 2017-11-07 at the Wayback Machine, OpenNet Initiative, 30 March 2010  The Supreme Court showdown over social media “censorship” and free speech online - Vox  LSB10748 (congress.gov)  Ibid.  Moody v. NetChoice, LLC - Wikipedia  21-51178-CV1.pdf (uscourts.gov)  137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017), Oral Arg. at 22:39–22:52.  Id 5.  418 U.S. 241 (1974).  Miami Herald Pub. Co. v. Tornillo :: 418 U.S. 241 (1974) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center  Court to weigh state laws constraining social media companies | Reuters