NEW ORLEANS—The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today lifted the stay on a Texas law that limits the power of social media companies to moderate speech on their platforms. The Court lifted the stay while it considers the merits of the appeal. Social media companies challenged the law. Last month, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the social media companies’ challenge to the law’s key provision, but urged the court to reject both Texas’s and the social media companies’ broadest arguments about how the First Amendment should apply to social media platforms.

The following can be attributed to Scott Wilkens, senior staff attorney with the Knight First Amendment Institute.

“This decision will have terrible consequences for speech online. As we said in a brief filed with the Fifth Circuit a few weeks ago, Texas’s law violates the First Amendment because it compels social media companies to publish speech they don’t want to publish. Worse, the theory of the First Amendment that Texas is advancing in this case would give government broad power to censor and distort public discourse. The Texas law’s transparency provisions present a more difficult constitutional question, but the law’s must-carry provision is plainly unconstitutional and should be struck down.”

Read today’s decision here

Read the Knight Institute’s amicus brief here

In November of last year, the Knight Institute filed an amicus brief in a case challenging Florida’s social media law. Read more about that case here.  

Lawyers on the case, in addition to Wilkens, include Jameel Jaffer and Alex Abdo, for the Knight Institute.

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande,