Facebook, Twitter Would Be Tainted Under Texas Law, Industry Groups Say
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google’s YouTube would be overwhelmed by “objectionable content” and become “unacceptable” to most users under a new Texas law barring them from suspending people for inappropriate political posts, two tech industry trade groups told a judge.
NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association made the argument in a Thursday filing in their suit challenging the law in federal court in Austin. Facebook, Twitter and Google are members of both groups.
The trade groups said the law would cost Facebook, Twitter and YouTube advertising revenue because they would be forced to distribute content that would render the sites “useless” to consumers. They also warned that social-media companies would be forced to disclose details of their existing programs for filtering out hate speech, providing “a roadmap for scammers, spammers, predators, and criminals to evade the platforms’ moderation.”
Texas Republicans passed the law after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube banned former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection in violation of their user terms. U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman is weighing a motion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to dismiss the trade groups’ suit.
Efforts by Texas and other red states to restrict social-media companies’ ability to ban users comes as Facebook, which said on Thursday it was re-branding as Meta, in particular has come under fire by Democrats for pushing disinformation and hate speech.
The case is NetChoice LLC v. Paxton, 21-cv-00840, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin).
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.