Attorney General James Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Ensure States Can Regulate Social Media Platforms

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of 22 attorneys general urging the U.S. Supreme Court to make it clear that states have the authority to regulate social media platforms. The amicus brief was submitted in two cases currently before the Court, Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton, which are challenges to laws passed in Florida and Texas. The amicus brief focuses on states’ important interests in regulating social media platforms to prevent harm to their residents. The amicus brief follows a multistate suit filed against Meta in October, and legislation advanced by Attorney General James to protect New York children online

“Social media companies have demonstrated that their priority is to monetize information and users, regardless of the harm their platforms cause,” said Attorney General James. “States must have the right to protect our residents, especially the most vulnerable and impressionable among us. I thank my fellow attorneys general for joining me in urging the Supreme Court to affirm states’ basic and essential authority to regulate in order to protect our residents. As we confront the mental health crisis impacting our nation, we need as many tools as possible at our disposal, and holding social media companies accountable is absolutely essential.”

The amicus brief submitted by Attorney General James and the coalition of attorneys general explains that social media platforms present significant, diverse, and ever-changing risks to Americans, especially the nation’s youth. To address that fact, states have taken action to protect minors from the risks posed by social media, enforce data privacy and transparency requirements for platforms, and combat the use of social media to facilitate human trafficking, the spread of child sexual abuse material, and the sale and distribution of fentanyl and other opioids. The amicus brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize states’ important interests in these areas and to avoid interpreting the First Amendment to immunize social media platforms from regulation.

This amicus brief is part of Attorney General James’ ongoing efforts to protect New Yorkers online. In October, Attorney General James and a bipartisan coalition sued Meta for harming young people’s mental health and contributing to the youth mental health crisis.  Also in October, Attorney General James advanced legislation with Governor Kathy Hochul, State Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Assemblymember Nily Rozic to help keep children safe online and prevent dangerous health consequences of addictive social media platforms. In July, Attorney General James led a multistate coalition of attorneys general to defend the federal government’s ability to communicate with social media companies about dangerous online content. In October 2022, she investigated and released a report on the role online platforms played in the Buffalo mass shooting. In May 2021, Attorney General James joined a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urging Facebook to abandon plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13

Joining Attorney General James in filing today’s brief are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Solicitor General Sarah Coco, Deputy Solicitor General Ester Murdukhayeva, and Solicitor General Barbara D. Underwood, all of the Division of Appeals and Opinions.