Skip to content
Businessweek
Technology

State Laws on Web Censorship Are Forcing a High-Stakes Legal Showdown

Conservatives want to restrict social platforms’ freedom to police content.

relates to State Laws on Web Censorship Are Forcing a High-Stakes Legal Showdown
Illustration: Baptiste Virot for Bloomberg Businessweek

The right-wing crusade to punish social media companies for supposedly discriminating against their conservative users is reaching a major inflection point, with the US Supreme Court weighing whether to temporarily block a Texas law regulating how the companies can moderate the content on their services. If it ultimately stands up, the law would represent a fundamental shift in how the US legal system interprets the First Amendment. It would also rewrite the rules of the modern internet.

The legal battle emerges from the intensifying dispute over the role of tech in American political and cultural life. Last year lawmakers in Texas and Florida passed similar bills attempting to limit the ability of web services to ban users or remove content they say violates their standards, saying companies apply their rules unfairly.