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Supreme Court analyzes social media regulation

The United States Supreme Court is currently considering a case that could redefine how the government regulates social media, a ruling that will have global implications. Florida and Texas laws, which aim to limit platforms' ability to moderate content, are at the center of the debate.

Political vision and defense of platforms

Republican politicians in these states, according to O Globo, are accusing the platforms of using loopholes such as moderation and, thus, using this as a form of censorship, which is why they decided to ban it.

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Texas law prohibits the removal of opinion-based posts or accounts, while Florida law prohibits the suspension of candidate accounts or press organization posts.

Defenders of the platforms argue that, as communication vehicles, they have the right to edit the content published. They believe that states cannot interfere in what is published in newspapers, just as they argue that they should also not determine the content published on social platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

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State representatives, on the other hand, believe that the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression, should be interpreted without restriction. They argue that social networks are not similar to newspapers, but are closer to telephone companies which, in turn, are obliged to transmit any message, regardless of the content of the messages.

“One of the main purposes of the First Amendment is to minimize government interference or control in the communications process. It imposes limits on the government, but not on privately operated platforms”says Joseph Russomanno, professor of communications at Arizona State University. “It is possible to argue that the governments of Florida and Texas are interfering with this activity through the laws they have enacted, in violation of the First Amendment,” continues Russomanno.

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The European Union leads the response to the challenge of regulating social networks, inspiring initiatives in Brazil (Photo: reproduction/BCFC/Shutterstock.com/Portal Olhar Digital)


Future of social media regulation

If the Supreme Court agrees with the platform representatives, this will not allow elected representatives to have no power to debate and regulate speech on the internet. However, if you agree with both states, the platforms will become a space without rules, encouraging the dissemination of lies, conspiracies and slander, with clear risks in the most diverse areas.

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The European Union has been a pioneer in providing a balanced response to the challenge of regulating social networks, an example that has been followed by Brazil. The need to impose rules on platforms is an issue considered urgent, given that the very efforts to moderate content have proven inadequate, according to O Globo. Monitoring and responsibility for the content that circulates in the virtual environment and ensuring that the rules that govern the physical world are applied to the digital is the essence of the Bill on Freedom, Responsibility and Transparency on the Internet, also known as PL das Fake News, legislation that, according to O Globo, should have already been approved by Congress.

Featured Photo: Republican politicians from the states of Florida and Texas in debate over content moderation on social media (Reproduction/Kenny Holston/The New York Times/Estadão)

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Supreme Court analyzes social media regulation

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