On September 16, the Fifth Circuit issued its decision in NetChoice L.L.C. v. Paxton, upholding Texas HB 20, a law that limits the ability of large social media platforms to moderate content and imposes various disclosure and appeal requirements on them. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s preliminary injunction, which previously blocked the Texas Attorney General from enforcing the law. NetChoice is likely to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s decision.
HB 20 prohibits “social media platforms” with “more than 50 million active users” from “censor[ing] a user, a user’s expression, or a user’s ability to receive the expression of another person” based on the “viewpoint” of the user or another person, or the user’s location. HB 20 also includes various transparency requirements for covered entities, for example, requiring them to publish information about their algorithms for displaying content, to publish an “acceptable use policy” with information about their content restrictions, and to provide users an explanation for each decision to remove their content, as well as a right to appeal the decision.