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The prohibition on viewpoint-based censorship contains several qualifications. Tex. H.B. 20, § 7 does not limit censorship of expression that a social media platform is specifically authorized to censor by federal law; expression that is the subject of a referral or request from an organization with the purpose of preventing the sexual exploitation of children and protecting survivors of sexual abuse from ongoing harassment; expression that directly incites criminal activity or consists of specific threats of violence targeted against a person or group because of their race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, sex, or status as a peace officer or judge; or unlawful expression.
A Texas statute named House Bill 20 generally prohibited the plaintiffs large social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of its speaker. The plaintiff asserted that the statute was in violation of the First Amendment, thus facially unconstitutional and cannot be applied to anyone at any time and under any circumstances. The district court issued a preliminary injunction against the defendant.
Was the Texas House Bill 20 unconstitutional?
Tex. H.B. 20 was not unconstitutional as it neither compelled nor obstructed the platforms' own speech in any way, and the platforms did not have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people had to say.