Court reinstates Texas law that prohibits social media companies from banning users based on their views

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A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Texas can now enforce a law prohibiting the internet’s largest social media platforms from removing user content based on the point of view of their speech.

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

Trade groups representing tech giants have filed a lawsuit challenging the law, arguing it is a brazen and unconstitutional attack on their own freedom of speech. The industry has warned that the law will flood its platforms with hate speech, dangerous medical misinformation, terrorist propaganda and disinformation from foreign governments.

An Austin Federal District judge last December ruled that social media platforms have a First Amendment right to moderate content posted on their platforms and issued a preliminary injunction that barred the state from enforcing the law, known as HB 20.

On Wednesday, however, a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay order that allowed Texas to begin enforcing the law while the appeal of the Condition continues.

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

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