The secessionist organization Texas Nationalist Movement and its leader, Daniel Miller, have sued Meta Platforms for allegedly violating that state's social media law by suppressing links to the organization's website.
The Texas group alleges that Facebook users who attempted to share the link were expressing the viewpoint that “Texans would be better off it Texas became a free and independent nation,” and that Meta unlawfully “censored” that view.
The organization claims that Facebook violates Texas's recent social media law, HB 20, which prohibits large platforms from suppressing posts based on viewpoint expressed. The group is seeking an injunction requiring Facebook to stop suppressing the link, as well as court fees and costs.
The tech industry challenged Texas's social media law in court and obtained an injunction that prohibits state officials from enforcing the measure. But the injunction doesn't prevent private individuals from filing lawsuits over alleged violations.
It's not yet clear whether the law will ultimately be upheld. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman in Austin, who blocked the measure at the request of tech industry groups NetChoice and Computer & Communications Industry Association, said the law violates web companies' First Amendment rights to exercise editorial discretion over the material they publish.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Pitman and said the law was constitutional, but preserved a block on the measure pending review by the Supreme Court.
The right-wing attorney who brought the case on behalf of the secessionists, Paul Davis, is himself suing Meta and TikTok for allegedly violating the same law by suppressing his posts.
The new lawsuit was originally filed late last month in Jefferson County, and Meta transferred the case to federal court in Beaumont this week. The Texas organization indicated Tuesday in a tweet that it will attempt to return the complaint to state court.