Court reinstates Texas law that bars social-media companies from banning users based on viewpoint

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A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Texas for now can enforce a law that prohibits the internet’s biggest social-media platforms from suppressing users’ content based on the viewpoint of their speech.

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Texas Republicans enacted the social-media law last year, saying they were striking back against what they view as Silicon Valley’s suppression of conservative political views on Facebook FB,
-4.51%,
Twitter TWTR,
-2.48%
and other major platforms.

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Trade groups representing tech giants sued to challenge the law, arguing it was a brazen and unconstitutional attack on their own freedom of speech. The industry warned that the law would flood their platforms with hate speech, dangerous medical misinformation, terrorist propaganda and foreign government disinformation.

A federal district judge in Austin last December held that social-media platforms have a First Amendment right to moderate content disseminated on their platforms and issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the state from enforcing the law, known as HB 20.

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On Wednesday, though, a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay order that allowed Texas to begin enforcing the law while the state’s appeal continues.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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