Texas Governor Greg Abbott Pledges to Outlaw Big Tech Censorship
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is pledging to outlaw Big Tech’s left-wing censorship, announcing his support of a bill in the Texas State Senate that would open social media monopolies to lawsuits from users at a state level.
State Senator Bryan Hughes Senate Bill 12 would provide legal recourse for users of Big Tech platforms who are banned from the services to return, designating Big Tech monopolies such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook as common carriers.
“They are common carriers and they cannot discriminate against people … it’s a violation of the first amendment,” Hughes said. “This is going to protect Texas’ free speech and get them back online.”
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.https://t.co/zSdirRa1pj
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 5, 2021
“These are the areas that used to be the courthouse square where people would come and talk,” said Abbott of the legislation. “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.”
The law establishing legal recourse against online censorship may prove legally durable enough to avoid breaching Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That law provides immunity for user-created content on internet platforms, and doesn’t give social media platforms a right to discriminate against active or potential users on the basis of political ideology.
The future for fighting Big Tech censorship lies at a state level. While some state Republican officials have proven reluctant to separate themselves from the lucrative business lobbies of Big Tech oligarchs, Hughes’ approach seems legally innovative enough to give free speech defenders a fighting shot at free expression online.