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WASHINGTON—On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton. The Court vacated the lower court decisions and sent the cases back to the courts for reconsideration. The Court held the lower courts did not use the appropriate standard of review and explained how the First Amendment should be examined in this context.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed anamicus brief arguing that Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072 violate the First Amendment and that online businesses need to be able to limit racist harassment and disinformation that disproportionately harm Black people and communities of color.

The following is a statement in response to today’s decision from Marc Epstein, Senior Counsel with the Digital Justice Initiative at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“We’re pleased at the decision today. It means that social media companies can still remove hate and disinformation on their platforms. But it’s not the end of the story. Hate and disinformation are still pervasive on social media. They are often targeted at Black people. And they cause significant harm, including stress, depression, anxiety, and other mental health effects. The harmful effects of hate and disinformation directed at Black people discourage Black people from engaging online. Now that the Court has recognized the platforms’ ability to remove this kind of content, the platforms need to do a better job of doing so. The decision also recognizes that the First Amendment is not an all-purpose shield for harmful actions taken by social media companies. These platforms must comply with regulations that do not implicate speech, just like every other business. Social media companies can still be held accountable for their own discrimination, privacy violations, and other conduct that harms Black people and other people of color.”


About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law–The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to mobilize the nation’s leading lawyers as agents for change in the Civil Rights Movement. Today, the Lawyers’ Committee uses legal advocacy to achieve racial justice, fighting inside and outside the courts to ensure that Black people and other people of color have the voice, opportunity, and power to make the promises of our democracy real.