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The Supreme Court docket heard arguments over Texas and Florida’s social media laws Monday (Feb. 26). The 2 states passed similar laws in 2021 that ban social media corporations from eradicating user-generated content material based mostly on “political viewpoints.” NetChoice, an trade commerce group that represents corporations resembling Meta and TikTok, and the Laptop & Communications Business Affiliation (CCIA) sued each states over the legal guidelines, saying they force companies to host speech on their platforms against their will.

The circumstances have lastly made their option to the Supreme Court docket, and arguments Monday by state solicitors normal and NetChoice had been chock stuffed with far-reaching similes and metaphors. NetChoice on a couple of event likened its argument on behalf of social media giants to previous circumstances which have been criticized for being anti-LGBTQ. Justices all had their favourite comparisons — Sonia Sotomayor likened social media to Etsy; Amy Coney Barrett introduced bookstores.

Right here’s a take a look at the wackiest comparisons drawn by attorneys, solicitors normal, and Supreme Court docket justices.

Wedding ceremony web site designers

NetChoice’s lawyer, Paul Clement, stated social media is like a custom wedding website designer (pdf). He used the instance of 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, through which the Supreme Court docket dominated {that a} Colorado internet designer for customized wedding ceremony web sites might publish a message on her website saying she opposed same-sex marriage beneath the First Modification, even when it conflicts with Colorado’s anti-discrimination legal guidelines.

Bookstores

Affiliate justice Amy Coney Barrett apprehensive that if the Texas and Florida legal guidelines had been allowed to remain, then it might affect, say, how a bookstore organizes its window shows.

Her rationale: If social media isn’t allowed to limit sure forms of content material beneath the state legal guidelines, then what if the states handed legal guidelines about how different companies set up their content material?

“May Florida enact a regulation telling bookstores that they should put every part out by alphabetical order and that they will’t set up or put some issues nearer to the entrance of the shop that they assume, you already know, their clients will need to purchase?” requested Coney Barrett.

Florida solicitor normal Whitaker stated social media and its algorithms are totally different from bookstores.

Parade organizers

NetChoice argued that social media platforms are like parade organizers, and the phrase “parade” was talked about 25 occasions Monday. NetChoice’s Clement referenced the case Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston (GLIB). Within the case, organizers of a Saint Patrick’s Day parade wouldn’t enable GLIB to take part, and the group sued. A Massachusetts state courtroom ordered parade organizer, the South Boston Allied Warfare Veterans Council, to incorporate GLIB. The Veteran’s Council appealed the choice, and finally, the Supreme Court docket sided with them. The justices stated that, due to the First Modification, they couldn’t be pressured to incorporate a gaggle within the parade whose messaging they disagreed with.

Etsy

Etsy is a extra particular instance of one other firm introduced up a bunch of occasions by justices (different dissimilar corporations had been additionally introduced up resembling Uber and FedEx). Etsy hosts consumer content material similar to social media platforms, so couldn’t Texas and Florida legal guidelines apply to it, too?

“Etsy is a grocery store that desires to promote solely classic garments, and so it will and does restrict customers’ content material,” stated affiliate justice Sotomayor. Would Etsy (which does promote greater than classic garments) have to vary the way it operates, she requested?

Whitaker stated that Florida’s regulation, which is broader than Texas’, would apply to Etsy, so Etsy wouldn’t have the ability to reasonable its user-generated content material prefer it has not too long ago with regard to sellers of goods with Pro-Palestine slogans.

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