Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing a piece of legislation titled Senate Bill 12, that would prohibit social media companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter from “censoring Texans based on viewpoints they express.”
“Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas, and trample free speech. It’s un-American, un-Texan, and soon to be illegal,” Abbott wrote on Twitter.
Abbott joined state Sen. Bryan Hughes to discuss the bill in a press conference held in Tyler, Texas, where he stressed the importance of the First Amendment and Texans’ right to free speech.
“We need to recognize that when we see the First Amendment under assault by social media companies, it is not going to be tolerated in Texas,” Abbott said.
Abbott named Facebook and Twitter as two of the main platforms targeted by the bill, describing how they have evolved into a contemporary public square where people share their political views. He expressed his belief that both platforms are now controlling the flow of information by denying conservatives the right to speak.
“They are... in the position where they are choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed to be presented. Texas is taking a stand against big tech companies’ censorship. We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star state,” Abbott added.
The bill would prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans’ viewpoints, and also allow Texans to file a lawsuit if they believe they are being wrongfully blocked by social media companies.
“The United States of America was built on freedom of speech and healthy public debate. Big tech efforts to silence conservative viewpoints is un-American, un-Texan, and is unacceptable and pretty soon is going to be against the law in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.