Ibrahim.ID / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Texas law banning social media ‘viewpoint discrimination’ reinstated for now

A federal appeals court will let Texas enforce its new social media law — which targets Twitter, Facebook and other large platforms that Republicans accuse of censoring conservatives — even though the court has yet to rule on the law’s constitutionality.

The one-sentence order by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, issued Wednesday evening, came with no explanation and was split 2-1, though the order did not indicate how the panel’s three judges voted.

The law known as House Bill 20, approved largely along party lines by the Legislature last year, was blocked from taking effect in December by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of Austin.

Siding with two tech industry groups that challenged the law, Pitman said HB 20 was an unconstitutional violation of social media companies’ free speech rights — interfering with the platforms’ editorial discretion and their First Amendment right to moderate the third-party content they disseminate.

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