Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law on Thursday that bans social media companies for censoring speech based on their political affiliation.
This law will allow users that are censored to sue the big tech companies for violating the new law. It also allows the Texas AG to sue social media companies with 50 million users or more on behalf of its citizens.
The legislation, House Bill 20, specifically prevents social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from using any form of censorship based solely on your political ideology, including blocking, banning, removing, de-platforming, demonetizing, or restrict a person’s access to use the platforms.
The companies will also have to make regular reports on any person or any site they ban or restrict. They must also provide a mechanism for filing a complaint, which they do not do now.
“We will always defend the freedom of speech in Texas, which is why I am proud to sign House Bill 20 into law to protect First Amendment rights in the Lone Star State.”
“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square. They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas.”
The issue garnered national attention in the lead-up to the election, when multiple Big Tech platforms censored a bombshell New York Post story involving potentially damaging information about President Joe Biden found on a laptop belonging to his son, Hunter.
Then, after the election, and immediately following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, those same social media companies made the unprecedented move to ban former President Trump, then a sitting president, from their platforms.
I do not think this legislation will be limited to Texas. I suspect that Georgia, Arizona, and New Hampshire will follow suit. There could be others, but some of the swing states have Democratic governors who will only sign bills allowing them to use questionable methods in their elections.