Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the law will protect Texans “from unlawful censorship on social media platforms.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed law Thursday banning large social media companies from banning users or blocking content based on their political views.
The law targets companies with at least 50 million monthly users in the US, including Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube. The bill, which was billed by the governor’s office to protect Texans “from unlawful censorship on social media platforms,” would allow residents of the state to sue companies for re-establishment of accounts.
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“There is a dangerous move by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a video posted on Facebook. “This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas.”
The new law comes under increasing pressure from several Republican lawmakers who claimed that Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks harbor anti-conservative biases. The social networks reject these allegations.
A federal judge in Junethat would have enabled the state to punish social media companies for banning politicians or political candidates from their platforms. The judge in this case found that the legal prohibition of “deplatforming” can violate the freedom of expression of companies and that the legislation as a whole is “based on point of view”.
The Florida Bill, signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, was proposed after President Donald Trump was publicized earlier this year by Twitter and Facebook for violating their guidelines following the January 6 deadly riot on Capitol Hill.
NetChoice, an internet industry group that has challenged Florida law, has criticized Texas law as unconstitutional for having the same conflict with the First Amendment as the Florida bill.
“This law abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and forces websites to host obscene, anti-Semitic, racist, hateful and otherwise horrific content,” NetChoice president Steve DelBianco said in a statement. “Moderation of user submissions is critical to keeping the Internet safe for Texas families, but this bill would put responsibility for content guidelines on the Texas government.”
Facebook and Twitter declined to comment, while Google did not respond to a request for comment.