Houston Attorney Joseph Larsen Interviewed Regarding Texas’ New ‘Anti-Censorship’ Law
Texas’ so-called “anti-censorship” law imposes a ban on the rights of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to police users’ submissions. The matter is currently under review in the Supreme Court.
Would This Law Be Bad For Free Speech?
In recent interviews with the Texas Observer and National Cybersecurity News, media law attorney Joseph Larsen pointed out several reasons why the new Texas ‘anti-censorship’ law conflicts with free speech.
According to Larsen, “The government can’t tell a private actor—an individual, or in this case a private company like Facebook or Twitter, what to say, what to include, or what to leave out. That’s editorial discretion. There’s also another federal law—the Communications Decency Act—that explicitly allows internet service providers, which Facebook and Twitter also are, to moderate their content. That’s why they call it the Communications Decency Act—so they don’t get indecent content. The Texas act could possibly be called the communications indecency act.”
What Is The Possible Impact On Traditional Media Companies’ Publishing Decisions?
Larsen points out that the gray areas of the law might put freedom of the press in jeopardy by potentially defining traditional news outlets that aggregate information as “social media” platforms. The fear of being sued by the attorney general is bound to have a chilling affect on freedom of speech across all platforms.
Larsen stated in his interview, “….And the fact that they feel like they can do this—who’s next? It’s a threat to free press throughout the United States.”