“I am joining @SenBryanHughes to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints. Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech. It's un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote on Twitter.
“We see that the First Amendment is under assault by these social media companies, and that is not going to be tolerated in Texas,” Hughes said at a press conference with the governor.
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across the country trying to silence conservative ideas, religious beliefs,” Abbott noted further. “We saw that first arise on college campuses.”
Abbott is referencing a bill he signed in 2019 called the “Campus Free Speech” act which protected students’ First Amendment right to speak and express themselves freely — a law that should have been wholly unnecessary given the Constitution’s guarantee. But the left owns college and university campuses and they are authoritarians so Abbott and state Republicans had no choice but to remind them of those fundamental rights.
“But now, these social media tech companies are using their tools to silence conservative speech on their platforms,” Abbott continued, noting further that Hughes’ Senate Bill 12 will protect state residents “from being wrongfully censored on social media, making sure that their voices are going to be heard and not canceled or silenced.”
Continuing, the governor noted that social media giants like Twitter and Facebook “have evolved into the modern-day public square,” and as such, they “are the areas that used to be the courthouse square where people would come and talk.”
“Now, people are going to Facebook and Twitter to talk about their political ideas, and what Facebook and Twitter are doing — they are controlling the flow of information, and sometimes denying the flow of information.
“Texas is taking a stand against big tech political censorship. We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star state,” Abbott declared.
He said that Hughes’ bill is designed to prohibit social media platforms from censoring Texans’ points of view. And the legislation also gives Texans a legal avenue for redress.
“It would also allow any Texan who has been canceled or censored or de-platformed to be able to file a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, or any of these other companies, and make sure they are able to get back on,” said Abbott.
“The United States of America was built on freedom of speech and healthy public debate,” added the governor. “Big tech’s efforts to silence conservative viewpoints is un-American, un-Texan, and it is unacceptable. And pretty soon, it’s going to be against the law in the state of Texas.”
Abbott is the second red state governor to introduce legislation to prohibit big tech censorship. Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also said his administration would be looking at ways to prevent social media leftists from banning or prohibiting certain content based just on point of view.
“I think there needs to be protections for people. I don’t think we can have a couple of these far-left-wing tech oligarchs control the information in our country. I’m not going to accept that and I don’t think any of you are going to accept that. So, we’re thinking through what we can do to provide people some protections,” DeSantis said at a luncheon hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
He said the big tech deplatforming of Parler (back online now) and kicking former President Donald Trump off Twitter were the final straws.
Tech firms, he said, were already “serving as judge, jury and executioner with no due process” and could “effectively wipe someone’s livelihood off the map.”
See more reporting like this at YouTubeCensorship.com.