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Reporters Committee statement on US Supreme Court’s NetChoice ruling

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In its decision, the Court reaffirmed a key principle at the core of the Constitution's protections for a free press.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week handed down its ruling on two landmark First Amendment cases, NetChoice v. Paxton and NetChoice v. Moody, where social media firms challenged laws in Texas and Florida, respectively, that sought to control how the platforms curated user content. The Court declined to rule definitively on the cases’ merits, vacating each appeals court decision and sending them back to the lower courts for reconsideration. But in its decision, the Court makes emphatically clear that social media platforms are protected by the First Amendment when they exercise editorial discretion and reaffirmed that “a State may not interfere with private actors’ speech to advance its own vision of ideological balance.”

Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, made the following statement:

“The Court reaffirmed and strengthened the principle at the core of the Constitution’s protections for a free press: The government never has a legitimate interest in enforcing its own vision of editorial fairness.”

The Reporters Committee led a coalition of organizations that argued in amicus briefs filed at every stage of the lower court proceedings and at the U.S. Supreme Court that upholding the theories that Texas and Florida advanced in seeking to regulate social media content moderation would also permit government officials to impose their own viewpoints on editorial choices made by the news media and other industries that make such choices.

The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

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