Tech companies are considering several options in response to the Texas social media law that prohibits them from political viewpoint-based censorship. The law was recently upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
According to a report by The Washington Post, one of the options that has been suggested is a pop-up that says: “The content you are about to see contains graphic violence, white supremacist imagery and other objectionable material. If you don’t want to be exposed, click here.”
Another option, which is highly unlikely, is for the tech companies to shut down their services in Texas.
There is also the option of complying with the law and stopping all political censorship and go back to where the platforms were a decade ago – something the platforms are going to be reluctant to do.
Shutting down their services in Texas would be costly because Texas has the second largest population in the country. Also, it would be difficult for the tech companies to detect if a Texas resident is accessing their services from another state.
The pop-up option warning users they are about to view sensitive content would also not be legal because Texas officials could argue that the pop-ups are a form of censorship.
Assuming that the Supreme Court will strike down the law on First Amendment grounds is also considered risky.
The law applies to all platforms with more than 50 million users, meaning it will apply to smaller platforms like Yelp, Etsy, and Pinterest.
Some argue that the law will be tougher on smaller companies because they do not have the resources of large companies, yet they could be the subject of lawsuits that could be financially crippling.