Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces bill to stop social media giants from censoring on basis of political views
This is seen as a backlash against the move by major social media sites like Twitter who banned former President Donald Trump
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and state’s GOP Senator Bryan Hughes have announced a bill before the 87th Texas Legislature that will help in prohibiting social media companies from censoring the people of the Lone Star State on the basis of their viewpoints.
As per the state legislature, Senate Bill 12 would give Texans a way to get back online if any social media company puts a ban on their account(s) based on the political/religious viewpoints they harbor. The governor joined Hughes at a press conference in Tyler on Friday, March 5, where they compared social media sites to a modern-day public square where people share ideas and engage in conversations.
Conservatives in the US strongly expressed their disappointment after major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook banned former President Donald Trump after he was accused of inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol Hill which resulted in the death of five people, including a police officer. That the disappointment still prevails became evident when Abbott said on Friday, March 5 that the bill looks to “prevent social media platforms from canceling conservative speech” — a concern which was raised by many conservatives after Trump was banned from the social media platforms.
“What they are doing, they are controlling the flow of information and sometimes denying the flow of information. They are in the position of choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed,” Abbott said, also adding that Texas would not allow big tech political censorship.
In a tweet on Thursday, March 4, Abbott wrote: “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.”
I am joining @SenBryanHughes to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 5, 2021
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
Hughes, on the other hand, said: “They are common carriers and they cannot discriminate against people ... it’s a violation of the first amendment. This is going to protect Texas free speech and get them back online.” Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate, considers the bill as one of his top 31 priorities for the 2021 legislative session, ABC 13 reported.
Abbott recently drew flak after he announced lifting the mask mandate in his state, despite his health officials warning against doing the same. The governor made the announcement at a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce event where he issued an executive order reversing most of his earlier executive orders, including the mask mandate. He said businesses of any type will be permitted to open 100 percent starting March 10. The decision was criticized with one expert saying the deadly winter that Texas saw recently leaving millions of people without power, could amplify transmission of the coronavirus in the days ahead even though it was too early to draw a conclusion.