- A new Texas bill bans social-media sites from removing users based on that person’s “viewpoint.”
- Gov. Greg Abbott said social-media companies try to silence “conservative ideas and values.”
- A similar bill in Florida was blocked by a federal judge for violating the First Amendment.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed a bill aimed at stopping social-media companies such as Facebook and Twitter from censoring users based on their politics.
The bill, called HB20, bans social-media companies with more than 50 million monthly active users from censoring people because of “the viewpoint of the user or another person.”
The bill allows private citizens and the Texas attorney general to sue tech companies who they believe have unfairly kicked someone off a platform. Abbott is among some Republicans who claim Big Tech companies unfairly target conservatives with their moderation rules.
“There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values,” Abbott said in a video posted on Twitter.
This comes four months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar bill attempting to stop “deplatforming” on social media. A federal judge blocked his bill, ruling it violated companies’ First Amendment rights to get rid of content that violated their standards.
The Texas bill is due to take effect on December 2, and digital rights group NetChoice – which brought a legal case against DeSantis’ Florida bill – said in a statement the bill was “unconstitutional and dangerous.”
“HB20 has the same First Amendment flaws as the Florida law that a federal court blocked this summer. The same outcome will almost certainly occur in Texas,” NetChoice president Steve DelBianco said in a statement.