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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Content Moderation Cases

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today over whether states can bar social media companies from moderating political content on their platforms, one of three social media disputes before the court this term.

Both Texas and Florida passed laws in 2021 preventing platforms like Facebook, X, and YouTube from removing posts or users for political reasons, part of a broad conservative backlash to the sites driven in part by the restriction of former President Donald Trump's accounts in early 2021. 

The states argue the platforms are effectively digital public squares where First Amendment free speech rights should be protected (read case overview). Social media platforms currently have wide leeway to decide what can be published on their sites, arguing their product (and editorial discretion) is protected as free speech, similar to newspapers. Critics of the laws claim extremist content would proliferate under them.

If the laws are deemed constitutional, analysts say tech companies may consider unique content feeds for those states, a complex technical challenge.

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