Hillicon Valley — Texas social media law temporarily blocked


The Supreme Court ruled to temporarily block a Texas social media law that would hinder companies’ ability to moderate content, but the case may end up back at the court at a later date.  

We’ll also explore revisions to a key antitrust bill and how those changes may — or may not — sway Democrats wavering on support. 

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

A win for tech groups  

A Texas law that would bar social media companies from taking action on hate speech and disinformation was temporarily blocked Tuesday in a rare 5-4 Supreme Court ruling.  

Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer ruled in favor of tech industry groups looking to block the law, with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Elena Kagan dissenting.  

The decision is a win for tech groups pushing back on laws coming from Republican-controlled state legislatures that seek to put barriers on social media companies’ ability to moderate content.  

A case on the law itself may wind up back before the Supreme Court as it makes its way through challenges in lower courts. But Tuesday’s decision means the law — which critics have said could lead to a more dangerous internet — will remain blocked for now in Texas, reversing a decision from a court of appeals earlier this month. 

In Alito’s dissenting opinion, he said he has not “formed a definitive view on the novel legal questions that arise from Texas’s decision to address the ‘changing social and economic’ conditions it perceives.” 

Read more about the decision.  

Klobuchar antitrust bill’s path forward

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is pushing for a summer vote on a key antitrust bill targeting tech giants, but updates to the language released last week may do little to quell concerns from Democrats teetering on support.  

Klobuchar and Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) American Innovation and Choice Online Act advanced with bipartisan support out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, but the chances of it passing hinge on supportersgaining a large enough coalition. Even some Democrats who voted to advance the bill in January have expressed hesitation in supporting it on a floor vote, and more may back off amid a dwindling deadline ahead of competitive midterm races.  

Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate antitrust subcommittee, released revisions to the text late Wednesday night, before the Senate recessed for Memorial Day. She said she is excited about the “very bipartisan” bill’s chance of proceeding.   

“We’ve worked with a number of members and we are making progress,” Klobuchar told The Hill Thursday. 

Read more here.  


Ukrainian officials met for the first time on Monday with the steering committee of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia, following the country’s successful bid to join the cyber center.  

Ukraine first applied to join the organization in August 2021. Its application was unanimously approved by all members of the steering committee in March.  

According to a blog post released by Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, members of the committee are finalizing a technical agreement on the accession that will formalize Ukraine’s participation in the organization. 

Read more here.  


Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter has been the subject of countless headlines as the mercurial CEO has made his hang ups with the acquisition very public.  

That tendency to share his thoughts on the public forummight be putting the billionaire on a collision course with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  

Musk has berated and antagonized the regulatory agency for years after being penalized for tweeting recklessly about taking Tesla private.   

His latest conduct on Twitter as he attempts to take over the company could draw even more legal headaches, but it remains an uncertain whether the agency will find enough misconduct to rein Musk in.   

Read more here.  


An op-ed to chew on: Cybersecurity needs a whole-of-society effort 

Lighter click: calling all journo pet parents 

Notable links from around the web

First she documented the alt-right. Now she’s coming for crypto. (The Washington Post / Gerrit De Vynck) 

After Uvalde, social media monitoring apps struggle to justify surveillance (The Verge / Corin Faife) 

Anti-abortion activists are collecting the data they’ll need for prosecutions post-Roe (MIT Tech Review / Abby Ohlheiser) 

It’s Time to Bring Back the AIM Away Message (Wired / Lauren Goode) 

One more thing: Musk’s bucket list 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk listed several changes he would make to Twitter pending approval of a $44 million deal from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to acquire the social media platform. 

The SEC cannot reject Musk’s offer to buy Twitter based on his vision for the company. However, the federal agency can raise objections to the transaction if it believes that Musk has not been forthcoming on required disclosure forms. 

The SEC could take issue with Musk’s late disclosure of his stake in Twitter as well as his constant criticism of leaders on the platform. 

But while his official offer awaits approval, here are some of the potential changes Musk could make if it is finalized. 

Read more here

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.