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Justices ask for input in cases involving social media laws in Florida and Texas

Young people in a line are using cell phones
Alessandro Biascioli
/
stock.adobe.com
Florida's law would prevent social media platforms from banning political candidates.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday called on the U.S. solicitor general to file briefs about the federal government’s position in two high-profile cases about efforts by Florida and Texas to crack down on major social-media companies such as Facebook and Twitter.

The Supreme Court has not announced whether it will hear the cases, which involve similar laws. But on Monday, it said it was inviting the solicitor general to file briefs.

Florida went to the Supreme Court after the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May upheld much of a preliminary injunction against the law.

The law, approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, targeted large companies such as Facebook and Twitter over decisions to remove politicians and other users from the social-media platforms.

In part, it would prevent the platforms from banning political candidates from their sites and require companies to publish --- and apply consistently --- standards about issues such as banning users or blocking their content. Companies could face penalties for violating restrictions.

For example, companies that remove political candidates from platforms could face fines of $250,000 a day for statewide candidates and $25,000 a day for other candidates.

The industry groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association challenged the constitutionality of the law, leading to the preliminary injunction. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the similar Texas law, creating a legal conflict and uncertainty.