Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) announced on Friday that he plans to sign a bill into law that would prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans’ viewpoints online, adding that censorship is “not going to be tolerated in Texas.”
“We see that the First Amendment is under assault by these social media companies, and that is not going to be tolerated in Texas,” said Governor Abbott at a press conference on Friday alongside State Senator Bryan Hughes (R).
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across the country trying to try to silence conservative ideas, religious beliefs,” the governor added. “We saw that first arise on college campuses.”
In 2019, Governor Abbott signed into law the “Campus Free Speech” law, ensuring that students’ First Amendment rights would be protected on college campuses.
“But now,” Abbott continued, “these social media tech companies are using their tools to silence conservative speech on their platforms.”
The governor added that senator Hughes’ Senate Bill 12 will protect Texans “from being wrongfully censored on social media, making sure that their voices are going to be heard and canceled or silenced.”
Abbott went on to note that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter “have evolved into the modern-day public square.”
“These are the areas that used to be the courthouse square where people would come and talk,” said Abbott. “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,” Governor Abbott affirmed.
The governor explained that Senator Hughes’ legislation will prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans based upon their viewpoints.
“It would also allow any Texan who has been canceled or censored or de-platformed to be able to file a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, or any of these other companies, and make sure they are able to get back on,” said Abbott.
“The United States of America was built on freedom of speech and healthy public debate,” the governor added. “Big tech’s efforts to silence conservative viewpoints is un-American, un-Texan, and it is unacceptable. And pretty soon, it’s going to be against the law in the state of Texas.”
Senator Hughes also expressed his concerns regarding Americans being “locked out social media for not conforming to a narrow worldview” approved by the political left, and explained why it should be illegal for social media companies to behave in this manner.
“We don’t allow your phone company to cut you off because they don’t like your politics, your cable company can’t cut you off because of your religion,” said Hughes. “These social media companies are common carriers. They have chosen to enter into that business, and they cannot discriminate against people in a violation of the First Amendment.”
Governor Abbott says that he looks forward to signing the bill into law.