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Texas Passes Censorship Law to Promote Free Speech on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Photo by Natilyn Hicks via Unsplash

Texas Passes Censorship Law to Promote Free Speech on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

By Movieguide® Staff

Texas recently passed a new bill that would allow residents of the state to sue Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for censorship.

The federal appeals court supported the Texas bill, “House Bill 20,” which restricts social media platforms’ right to ban, suspend, and censor users.

“We will always defend the freedom of speech in Texas, which is why I am proud to sign House Bill 20 into law to protect first amendment rights in the Lone Star State,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a recent statement. “Social media websites have become our modern-day public square. They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas.”

“That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas,” Abbott continued. “I thank Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Briscoe Cain, and the Texas Legislature for ensuring that House Bill 20 reached my desk during the second special session.”

The bill applies to social media companies with 50 million monthly users.

The Office of the Texas Governor wrote:

The law also requires several consumer protection disclosures and processes related to content management on the social media sites to which the bill applies. These sites must disclose their content management and moderation policies and implement a complaint and appeals process for content they remove, providing a reason for the removal and a review of their decision. They also must review and remove illegal content within 48 hours. House Bill 20 also prohibits email service providers from impeding the transmission of email messages based on content.

Texas’s attorney general Ken Paxton also praised the new bill.

“My office just secured another BIG WIN against BIG TECH,” Paxton’s office wrote in a tweet.

Others don’t see the new bill as a win and question whether or not Texas legislator’s hand in private companies is hyporcyrtiocal.

Another potential downside that First Amendment lawyer Ken White notes, is that the law does not permit tech companies to cite previous successful defenses.

“Those are all things you’d do if you wanted to make litigation as attractive, expensive, and difficult to defend as possible,” White wrote in a Tweet.