The Texas Tribune reports:
Decrying “a dangerous movement” to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs,” Gov. Greg Abbott touted a bill Friday that aims to crack down on the perceived censorship of conservative voices by social media companies.
“They are controlling the flow of information — and sometimes denying the flow of information,” the Republican governor said at a press conference in Tyler.
“And they are being in the position where they’re choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed to be presented. Texas is taking a stand against big tech political censorship. We’re not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.”
Austin’s NBC News affiliate reports:
In his bill, Sen. Bryan Hughes said social media platforms are “akin to common carriers” like cell phone or cable companies. and have “enjoyed governmental support in the United States.
He says the bill will protect Texans and allow them to get back online quickly should a social media company punish them for expressing a “viewpoint” based on their religious beliefs or political leanings.
“Just like AT&T can’t cut off my cell service because they don’t like a conversation we’re having, these folks should not be given that power,” Sen. Hughes said. “We can’t let them abuse it like they have been.”
Dallas’s ABC News affiliate reports:
Much of the Texas GOP’s post-siege rhetoric depicts the technology and social media companies’ moves as the “censorship of conservatives,” even though the actions were in response to credible evidence that communications were inciting violence.
And legal experts agree that these tech companies are exercising their full legal rights to moderate anything on their platforms. Experts point out that the First Amendment – which protects free speech – only prohibits government censorship. That leaves private companies to choose their own protocols.
The Daily Caller reports:
“Conservative speech will not be canceled in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “We see that the First Amendment is under assault by the social media companies, and that is not going to be tolerated in Texas.”
Hughes’ bill would declare that social media platforms “are central public forums for public debate.” The bill would prohibit social media platforms from censoring a user or their posts or prohibiting a user from making a post based on their viewpoint.
“This bill will give Texans a right to get back online when they’re mistreated in that way,” Hughes said.