NetChoice Wins Bid to Block Mississippi Social Media AV Law

JACKSON, Miss.—A social media age verification law was temporarily blocked earlier this week in a federal district court. NetChoice, a trade group representing some of the largest technology companies in the United States and the world, sued the state of Mississippi in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi over House Bill (HB) 1126.

“An unconstitutional law will protect no one. We’re pleased the court sided with the First Amendment and stopped Mississippi’s law from censoring online speech, limiting access to lawful information and undermining user privacy and security as our case proceeds,” said Chris Marchese, an attorney and NetChoice Litigation Center's director, in a press release.

“We look forward to seeing the law struck down permanently," Marchese added.

HB 1126 regulates all digital service providers and social media networks by requiring minors to have parental permission to use the services. The statute was adopted by the state legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Republican Gov. Tate Reeves. The Republican Party also controls the Mississippi state legislature.

NetChoice, which represents companies like Google and Meta, also recently won a significant case at the U.S. Supreme Court. The conservative-leaning high court ruled that content moderation regulatory statutes in Florida and Texas violated the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Section 230 is often called the "internet's First Amendment."

Marchese went on to state, "Mississippians have a First Amendment right to access lawful information online free from government censorship.”

The case is NetChocie v. Fitch. Conservative state Attorney General Lynn Fitch is named in the lawsuit.

AVN reported on the action against HB 1126 last month.