The Technology 202: The future of social media could be decided by the Supreme Court

 The Technology 202: The future of social media could be decided by the Supreme Court

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Good morning and TGIF! We fill Cristiano today. Twitter shares dropped this morning afterwards Elon Musk tweeted that his bid to buy the company was temporarily suspended. Here is the story that our colleagues should read.

Bottom: Lawmakers want tech companies to archive potential war crimes in Ukraine, and U.S. cities are considering overturning their face recognition bans. But first:

The future of social media will be decided by the Supreme Court

Unhappy with the major social media platforms ’content moderation policies, which they have often called censorship, Republican leaders in Texas, Florida and other states have been busy drafting and passing state laws that, if supported and implemented, can elevate the entire industry.

Texas law, for example, prohibits companies like Facebook and Twitter from banning users or limiting their posts based on “perception” – a pattern that is less defined, industry and legal experts say. -as it may be impossible to moderate the content of the measure.

First Amendment experts widely view Florida and Texas laws as unconstitutional, while technology giants believe they will be destroyed by the courts before they act.

Those hopes vanished late Wednesday, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals removed a temporary Texas law order, allowing it to be enforced while its substance continues to be sued in the lower court.

The law, signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in September, allowed individuals and the state attorney general to file lawsuits against social media companies with more than 50 million monthly active users in the United States, such as Facebook and Google’s YouTube, if they believe they are wrongly banned or censored. The law also requires platforms to set up a complaint system, where people can challenge companies ’decisions to remove content or flag illegal activity.

Industry trade groups NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represent companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, argued in court that the law violated the First Amendment, which limits the government’s power to speak out. private entities what to publish and what not to publish. .

The strange move by the Fifth Circuit has left companies and legal minds “scratching their heads,” as Eric Goldman, professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law. “I think everyone was shocked about it. Everyone was trying to figure out what happened and what’s next.”

Meanwhile, Texans who have suspended their accounts or taken their posts can immediately start suing the platforms.

Social media platforms should expect an alleged victim to come forward and file a case to try it out, it said. Elizabeth Bankervice president of legal advocacy at the Chamber of Progress, who counts Facebook, Twitter and Google as financial backers.

“I think the big concern … is that now not only is Texas AG going to start filing lawsuits, but the general public can,” Banker said. “That’s why everyone who thinks they’re canceled now has access to the courts.”

The legal battle will almost certainly continue, but it’s unclear what the platforms will do at the moment.

At this point, the platforms have two options, Goldman said. One is to try to follow the law as much as they can. “But no one ever mentioned that,” he added, “because it was impossible. The law is written in a way that no one can keep. ”

Social platforms are bound by laws that make certain types of speech illegal, but there is no practical way to comply without also removing content that they can be sued under Texas law.

Another option, Goldman said, is to significantly pull the plug on Texas, banning Texas residents from their platforms altogether. But Texas law includes language that attempts to ban that as well.

“The way the law is written is that it also protects the ability of people within Texas to receive communication,” Banker said. “So what’s important to try to do is to reach out to other jurisdictions and say that platforms can’t remove language based on the perspective of any other jurisdiction.”

Tech companies will have a hard time cutting their services to Texans even if they decide that’s their best option, Banker added. For starters, it can be difficult to identify where individual users are at any given point.

A state that forces platforms to do business there is almost certainly unconstitutional, Goldman added. But then he thought the rest of the law was also unconstitutional, and that still remains to this day.

Experts say the battle now appears set to end, one way or another, by the Supreme Court.

A justice, Clarence Thomas, has already suggested an opinion that social media companies should play by the same rules that phone companies do, acting as “common carriers” for whatever anyone wants to say. The question of whether the court will accept the case may come up with how many other conservative magistrates Thomas can convince to endorse the expansion of state power over the private sector.

Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said these cases are more than how tech companies implement their content moderation policies. They discussed whether the government could get the power from private companies to dictate who can say what online.

“My deeper concern with the Texas arguments here is that the argument they’re making about the First Amendment will give governments greater power to manipulate and censor public discourse,” Jaffer said. “Their argument is that social media platforms have no First Amendment right to express. If you accept that proposition, then there is no regulation that Texas can’t pass about social media.

Conservatives have gained followers since Twitter accepted Musk’s bid

Right-leaning accounts and Republican members of Congress have seen a surge in Twitter followers as their Democratic counterparts flatline, Iring Zakrzewski, Naomi Nix, Jeremy B. Merrill and Madison Dong report. The data is an early indication that Elon Musk’s vision as a “free speech absolutist” could change who uses the platform.

“It definitely speaks to the possible future of Twitter,” he said Darren Linvill, an associate professor at Clemson University’s Media Forensics Hub. “You can see the rise of conservative users.”

Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said the company is looking at changes. “As we continue to operate on accounts that violate our spam policy that will affect follower counts, these changes appear to be largely a result of the development of new account creation and creation. -deactivate. ” NBC News first reported early changes in the number of conservative followers.

High-ranking House Democrats ask tech companies to archive potential war crimes in Ukraine

Letters from Facebook parent executives Meta, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube called on companies to preserve and archive the content, and “flag or mark the content with potential content evidence. of war crimes and other atrocities, ”NBC News’s Ben Collins reports. Lawmakers said in letters that the archived materials could be used in war crimes trials.

The letters were sent to the House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.); Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Gregory W. Meeks (DN.Y.); Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), Who heads the national security panel of the Oversight Committee; and Rep. William R. Keating (D-Mass.), Who chaired the Europe panel of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube did not respond to NBC News ’request for comment.

U.S. cities and states look to change facial recognition bans

Virginia lifted its ban on the use of local police technology in July, and California and New Orleans could follow, Reuters’s Paresh Dave reports. The changes come “amid a surge in crime and more lobbying from developers,” Dave wrote.

Critics say facial recognition technology is less effective at identifying people of color. In 2019, a federal study found that technology erred in identifying people of color more often than Whites. But the National Institute of Standards and Technology has found that the technology has improved in accuracy, Dave reports.

The dismissal of the Twitter consumer product chief Kayvon Beykpour during his paternity leave was not good for some Twitter users. Protocols Megan Morrone:

Seven Seven Six founder Alexis Ohanianwho co -founded Reddit:

Twitter CEO shakes up his leadership team-again (Elizabeth Dwoskin, Will Oremus and Gerrit De Vynck)

The leaked memo reveals Apple’s anti-union speaking points for store managers (Motherboard)

Sony PlayStation staff angry over CEO’s abortion comments (Bloomberg)

DOJ loses bid to punish Google for withholding documents (Bloomberg)

The anonymous social media app Yik Yak reveals the exact locations of users (Motherboard)

US SEC’s Peirce sees ‘movement’ in stablecoin regulations (Reuters)

Instagram fight highlights ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case (The New York Times)

  • Airbnb announced that 22 organizations have joined the Trust and Safety Advisory Coalition, which will advise the company on policies, products, employee training and other issues.
  • The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab hosted an event moderation in the midst of the war in Ukraine on Wednesday at 11 am

thats all for today-thank you so much for joining us! Be sure to tell others to subscribe the technology 202 HERE. Talk about tips, feedback or say hello to Twitter or email.

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