Manatt Files Amicus Brief in First Amendment Content Moderation Case Before Supreme Court

Manatt Partner Nathaniel Bach and Associates Marina Shvarts and Thomas Worger filed an amicus brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court over whether laws intended to restrict content moderation efforts of social media platforms comply with the First Amendment.   

The brief supports the arguments of NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represent prominent internet and social media companies, in their challenges to Florida’s and Texas’s social media laws, which were enacted with the goal of addressing alleged bias and censorship of conservative voices on social media platforms. Filed on behalf of Professors Richard L. Hasen, Brendan Nyhan and Amy Wilentz, the brief argues the states’ laws, if upheld, would increase the risk of political violence and election subversion, in addition to violating the First Amendment. The authors point to the widespread misuse of social media to fuel the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and describe how disinformation surrounding false claims that the 2020 election was stolen supported subversive attempts to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power.  

“The platforms made voluntary decisions about labeling, factchecking, demoting, and deplatforming content that undermined election integrity, stoked violence, and raised the risk of election subversion. In so doing, the platforms participated in the open marketplace of ideas by exercising their sound editorial judgment in a socially responsible way to protect democracy,” the brief’s authors write, observing that “the platforms’ efforts were vastly preferable to an alternative in which government fiat deprives platforms of the power to remove even dangerous speech.” 

Read the full amicus brief here.    



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