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June 12, 2021
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced that he is “taking a stand” against online censorship of conservatives by backing new legislation to outlaw viewpoint discrimination on social media.
Speaking at a press conference in Tyler, Texas on Friday, Abbott added his support for state Senate Bill 12, which aims to block social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from censoring conservatives. Abbott said that the “First Amendment is under assault” from social media companies and that their behavior “is not going to be tolerated in Texas.” He warned that there “is a dangerous movement spreading” across America that is trying to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs” and said that social media was “the new public square.” He added that Facebook and Twitter are “in the position” where they pick winning and losing “viewpoints” that are allowed to be shared on their websites.
“Texas is taking a stand against Big Tech political censorship,” declared Abbott. “We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.” The Texas bill, introduced by GOP state Sen. Bryan Hughes, declares that social media platforms are ”central public forums for public debate” and protect Texans from ”being wrongfully censored on social media, making sure that their voices are going to be heard and not canceled or silenced,” said Abbott. “I am joining [state Sen. Bryan Hughes] to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints,” Abbott announced late Thursday night via Twitter. “Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech,” he asserted. “It’s un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also backed legislation giving consumers the right to know how tech companies are using their data, and has proposed fining tech companies that deplatform political candidates. DeSantis’ bill would prevent platforms from rapidly changing standards, allow people to opt out of content algorithms, create a “cause of action” pathway for legal action and fine tech companies $100,000 daily for “deplatforming” political candidates.
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS