Justices appear divided in high court case on social media free speech

Feb 26, 2024 | Political News

Supreme Court justices on Monday appear heavily divided over two state laws in Texas and Florida, which would prohibit social media platforms from censoring Republican rhetoric.

The come down to whether tech and social media companies have the power under the First Amendment to remove posts and rhetoric such as hate speech and misinformation. Conservatives are concerned that the law would censor right-leaning speech.

“The First Amendment restricts what the government can do,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “What the government’s doing here is saying ‘you must do this, you must carry these people – you’ve got to explain if you don’t. That’s not the First Amendment.”

The uncertainty makes it unclear whether a finite ruling would be issued immediately, or whether the court will send the cases back down to a lower court for fine-tuning on the possible wider-reaches of the laws.