Supreme Court poised to rewrite how social media confronts disinformation

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Oct 6, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

The Facebook post showed a gloved hand holding a silver needle alongside a message in bold letters: “Bill Gates explains that the COVID-19 vaccine will use experimental technology and permanently alter your DNA!”

Despite violating Facebook rules to prevent the spread of lies about COVID, that post slipped past the platform’s filters in June 2021. It was just one of many false claims that made it online and fueled national skepticism about the vaccine, and also gave ammunition to social media critics who say tech giants such as Facebook’s parent company Meta, Alphabet and Twitter aren’t doing enough to block disinformation.

The backlash has only grown more intense, but depending on how the Supreme Court decides on a controversial case challenging a Florida law that bans platforms from removing similarly deceptive posts, the internet could soon be awash in disinformation on a scale never seen before.

The Florida law and a similar Texas law would prevent social media companies from removing certain types of content even if false. Both laws are the result of a conservative effort to force tech giants to host a variety of political views no matter how extreme. The court is expected to hear the Florida case this term — an appeals court ruled against state officials in May — though that is not yet confirmed.

Two other cases related to content moderation are already on the docket. On Monday, the court announced it will review

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