WASHINGTON–Today, the state of Florida asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the government may limit the power of social media companies to moderate speech on their platforms. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits are deeply divided on this question, with the Fifth Circuit holding just last week that the government does have that power, and the Eleventh Circuit holding that it does not. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University filed amicus briefs with both courts, arguing that social media companies’ exercise of editorial judgment is protected by the First Amendment.

The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, executive director at the Knight First Amendment Institute.

“The First Amendment questions presented by this case are immensely important—questions including whether social media companies exercise ‘editorial judgment’ when they decide what content to allow on their platforms, in what circumstances governments can override that judgment, and how courts should evaluate laws that burden that judgment in the name of transparency, fairness, or privacy. If the Supreme Court hears this case, its answers to these questions will define free speech online for a generation.”

The following can be attributed to Scott Wilkens, senior counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute. 

“The Supreme Court’s intervention is urgently needed to resolve the lower courts’ sharp disagreement about the government’s power to regulate social media platforms. The stakes in this case could hardly be higher. The First Amendment should be a strong bulwark against government censorship and manipulation of public discourse, but it should not be understood to preclude reasonable transparency, due process, and privacy regulation that serves First Amendment values.”

Read Florida’s cert petition here.

Read the Knight Institute’s Eleventh Circuit amicus brief here.

Read the Knight Institute’s Fifth Circuit amicus brief here

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande, [email protected]