Warning that the “First Amendment is under assault,” Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced a new bill through which his state is “taking a stand” against social media companies that censor viewpoints.
“The United States of America was built upon free speech and healthy public debate,” he said at a news conference in Tyler. “Big Tech’s efforts to silence conservative viewpoints is un-American, un-Texan and is unacceptable.”
“And, pretty soon, it’s going to be against the law in the state of Texas,” the governor said.
Senate Bill 12, Abbott said, “prohibits social media companies from censoring Texans” based upon their “viewpoints” and enables people who have been “canceled, censored or deplatformed” to sue the tech companies.
He said a “dangerous movement” is spreading nationwide aiming to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs.”
Social media is “the new public square,” Abbott said, but Facebook, Twitter and others are “controlling” the flow of information, choosing winning and losing “viewpoints.”
“Texas is taking a stand against Big Tech political censorship,” he said “We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.”
In February, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced legislation to prevent Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Amazon and Apple from censoring content or selling users’ data.
“The core issue here,” DeSantis said, “is this: are consumers going to have the choice to consume the information they choose, or are oligarchs in Silicon Valley going to make those choices for us? No group of people should exercise such power, especially not tech billionaires in Northern California.”
In a news release, Abbott said “social media companies are now acting as judge and jury on determining what viewpoints are valid” and that he would work with Hughes to get the bill “sign[ed] into law.”
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