Washington, DC – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed an amicus brief in Murthy v. Missouri in support of social media platforms’ ability to censor harmful disinformation. The brief follows the Lawyers’ Committee’s similar filing last week in Netchoice, LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, LLC, the Supreme Court cases concerning Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072, laws that would vitiate the ability of online businesses to remove content spewing hate and disinformation on their platforms.
In the brief, the Lawyers’ Committee argues that social media companies have an obligation to safeguard elections from disinformation, misinformation and other threats, underscoring the importance of collaboration between these entities to develop and enforce policies that protect the integrity of the electoral process.
“This case underscores the complicated intersection of technology, democracy, and free speech. Any restriction on communication between the government and civil society organizations, as proposed in the injunction, violates fundamental First Amendment rights, hindering our collective efforts to ensure the integrity of our democratic process,” said David Brody, managing attorney of the Digital Justice Initiative. “Our amicus brief in Netchoice, LLC v. Paxton and Moody v. NetChoice, LLC similarlyunderscores the importance of responsible social media moderation in curbing this type of harassment and hate speech. We must strike the right balance between free expression and preventing online harms, and our commitment remains unwavering in the pursuit of justice and fairness in the digital realm.”
“The injunction, as it stands, hampers the ability of government officials and civil rights organizations to collaborate in addressing the evolving challenges of election disinformation,” said Ezra Rosenberg, co-Director of the Voting Rights Project. “The need to stop behavior targeting voters, often voters of color, is paramount. This need increases with advances in technology, and the injunction in this case imperils these essential efforts at this crucial time in our democracy. The Voting Rights Project, in conjunction with the Lawyers’ Committee-powered Election Protection Hotline (866-OUR-VOTE), remains dedicated in its work to safeguard the rights of Black and brown communities.”
The amicus brief further details how social media companies rely on external engagement with civil society to shape their policies, and how government programs rely on coordination with private entities to counter election disinformation. In their brief, the Lawyers’ Committee emphasizes that the injunction, as issued, impedes the constitutional rights of various individuals and organizations involved in protecting free and fair elections.
The Digital Justice Initiative and the Voting Rights Project with the Lawyers’ Committee remain committed to advocating for the principles of justice, free speech, and fair electoral processes.
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. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.