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Mozilla Asks US Supreme Court to Support Responsible Content Moderation

Today Mozilla Corporation joined an amicus brief in a pair of important Supreme Court cases. The cases consider Texas and Florida laws that prohibit social media platforms from removing hateful and abusive content. If upheld, these laws would make content moderation impossible and would make the internet a much less safe place for all of us. Mozilla urges the Supreme Court to find them unconstitutional.

The Texas law, known as H.B. 20, would prohibit large social media sites from blocking, removing, or demonetizing content based on the viewpoint. While it provides an exception for illegal speech, this still means that platforms would be forced to host a huge range of legal but harmful content, such as outright racism or Holocaust denial. It would mandate, for example, that a page devoted to South African history must tolerate pro-Apartheid comments, or that an online community devoted to religious practice allow comments mocking religion. It would condemn all social media to rampant trolling and abuse.

Mozilla has joined a brief filed by Internet Works and other companies including Tumblr and Pinterest. The brief sets out how content moderation works in practice, and how it can vary widely depending on the goals and community of each platform. It explains how content moderation can promote speech and free association by allowing people to choose and build online communities. In Mozilla’s own social media products, our goal is to moderate in favor of a healthy community. This goal is central to our mission, which underscores our commitment to “an internet that promotes civil discourse, human dignity, and individual expression” and “that elevates critical thinking, reasoned argument, shared knowledge, and verifiable facts.”

The laws under consideration by the Court do not serve speech, but would instead destroy online communities that rely on healthy moderation. Mozilla is standing with the community and allies to call for a better future online.