Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has joined those fighting arbitrarily imposed censorship by Big Tech like Facebook and Twitter, announcing his support for a bill moving through the state to stop it.
“Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech,” Abbott denounced. He added, “It’s un-American, un-Texan and soon to be illegal,” according to local media outlet Valley Central on March 5.
Abbott expressed his support for Senate Bill 12, sponsored by state Sen. Bryan Hughes. The bill will protect Texans from biased censorship and get them get back online quickly should a social media company punish them for expressing a “viewpoint” based on their religious beliefs or political leanings.
“Conservative speech will not be canceled in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “(This bill) would allow any Texan who has been canceled, censored, or disabled to file a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, or any of these other companies.”
Likewise, Hughes expanded on the explanation saying, “Just like AT&T can’t cut off my cell service because they don’t like a conversation we’re having, these folks should not be given that [censorship] power.” He added, “We can’t let them abuse it like they have been.”
While Big Tech has routinely censored views deemed conservative, following its arbitrary protocols, the crackdown went to the extreme in suspending the accounts of then President Donald Trump and many of his supporters.
One insight into the impact of censorship by major social networks is provided by the results of a 2020 Pew Research survey—three-quarters of U.S. adults, including 90% of Republicans, believe it is “very” or “somewhat” likely that social media companies will censor political views, Valley Central mentioned.
Recently, California Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced legislation that would penalize companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, should they violate residents’ freedom of speech in his state, according to alternative media outlet The Scoop.
“We need to really think deeply about if we are a disfavored class based on our principles, based on having conservative views, based on being a Christian, based on whatever you can say that is not favored in Silicon Valley,” DeSantis said.
Internationally, Australia set an important precedent in the control of Big Tech by legislating for its control.
The Australian Parliament passed on Feb. 25, for the first time worldwide, a law for companies such as Facebook and Google to pay local publishers for news content.