NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today upheld a Texas law that limits the power of social media companies to moderate speech on the platforms. Today’s decision follows a recent Supreme Court order blocking the law while the Fifth Circuit considered the merits of the social media companies’ legal challenge. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed an amicus brief in support of the social media companies’ challenge to the law’s key provision prohibiting the social media platforms from moderating user content, but it also 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 counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University:

“This is a deeply unpersuasive opinion. The First Amendment questions presented by the Texas statute can’t be answered simply by recasting the platforms’ editorial decisions as censorship. We hope and expect that the Supreme Court will stay and ultimately vacate this ruling. If the ruling is left in place, it will give state officials all over the country sweeping power to distort free speech online.”

Read today’s decision here. 

Read the Knight Institute’s amicus brief here.

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

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

For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny,