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Texas A&M defends Facebook page amid free speech lawsuit

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas' largest public university is defending its Facebook page after animal-rights activists filed a First Amendment lawsuit over claims the school is censoring critical comments.

Texas A&M University said Wednesday it supported free speech in response to a lawsuit this week by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But the school described posts by PETA and its supporters as "online attacks" that interfered with university business.

PETA has protested animal research at Texas A&M since 2016. The group claims the school recently began blocking Facebook comments containing words such as "cruel" or "abuse."

Texas A&M acknowledged taking steps to manage its Facebook page because of PETA but didn't elaborate.

Free speech experts say the case is similar to high-profile lawsuits elsewhere over the First Amendment and social media.

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