Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedJuly 1, 2024

Supreme Court Issues Ruling in CCIA, NetChoice Challenge to Florida, Texas Social Media Laws

Washington – The Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 that the First Amendment prohibits Florida and Texas from dictating what social media applications and websites may display.  In CCIA’s joint challenge to two Florida and Texas social media statutes, several lower courts found that these statutes likely violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court confirmed that online speech, including editorial decisions about online speech, deserves First Amendment protection. 

In a complex series of opinions that were unanimous in the outcome, but divided 6-3 in their reasoning, the Court sent the cases back to lower courts, making clear that a State may not interfere with private actors’ speech. 

The Computer & Communications Industry Association and its co-plaintiff NetChoice challenged Texas HB20 and Florida SB7072 on several grounds, including that they violate the First Amendment, which bans governments from compelling an individual or business to speak. 

Co-petitioners CCIA and NetChoice, who are leading these constitutional challenges, had previously filed briefs (Florida and Texas) with the Supreme Court ahead of the arguments Feb. 26, setting forth the many reasons the laws violate the First Amendment.

The Supreme Court previously had issued an emergency ruling blocking the Texas social media law from taking effect. The Florida law had already been blocked by a lower court. The First Amendment protects against government either prohibiting speech — or forcing people or businesses to speak or otherwise display particular speech.

More than 100 interested parties, ranging from law professors to public interest groups, joined or filed amicus briefs expressing concerns these laws trampled on the First Amendment.

CCIA has advocated for free speech online for more than 25 years.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“We are encouraged that a majority of the Court has made clear that the government cannot tilt public debate in its favored direction.  There is nothing more Orwellian than government attempting to dictate what speech should be carried, whether it is a newspaper or a social media site. Our Founding Fathers understood the importance of the right to speak or not speak without government interference and made this a cornerstone of our democracy when they ratified the First Amendment. We look forward to continuing our advocacy for the First Amendment as these cases return to lower courts in Florida and Texas.”