While social media is a source of entertainment and personal connections, it has also become a battleground for political communication and social commentary. Ever since the former President was banned from Twitter, there has been continuing pressure to modify the First Amendment rights of social media companies to moderate or edit the content posted by users. Starting in 2021, Texas and Florida passed laws to prevent the largest social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, from removing political comments that “Silicon Valley” deems extreme, misleading, or false. Both laws have been the subject of litigation testing the limits of the First Amendment rights of social media companies to control the user-generated content posted on their sites. The 11th Circuit stuck most of the Florida’s law on First Amendment grounds. The 5th Circuit upheld the Texas law, concluding that the sites are “common carriers” and have very limited rights of censorship. Both disputes are likely destined for the Supreme Court.
This seminar will provide technology lawyers, First Amendment lawyers and litigators a detailed insight into these cutting-edge First Amendment issues and the challenges facing social media companies in the future.