Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs Bill Fighting Social Media Censorship

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2018 file photo, Texas Governor Greg Abbott smiles before a gubernatorial debate against his Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. Decisions about health care and education will top the agenda in many state capitols as lawmakers convene in new …
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Governor of Texas Greg Abbott (R) has signed a bill into law aimed at stopping social media companies from censoring their users on the basis of their political viewpoints. The law designates the Masters of the Universe as common carriers, a crucial legal distinction in the fight against political censorship.

The bill was introduced earlier in the year but was delayed when Democrat members of the Texas House of Representatives broke quorum and fled the state to block another bill introduced by Republicans, aimed at protecting voter integrity.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: With an image of himself on a screen in the background, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg testified about Facebook's proposed cryptocurrency Libra, how his company will handle false and misleading information by political leaders during the 2020 campaign and how it handles its users’ data and privacy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 23: With an image of himself on a screen in the background, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Jack Dorsey Twitter CEO

Jack Dorsey Twitter CEO (Getty/ Drew Angerer)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai (Alex Wong/ Getty)

Earlier this month, Breitbart News reported that the bill was likely to pass:

After being halted by Democrat lawmakers’ boycott of the state legislature earlier this year, a bill aimed at reining in Big Tech censorship introduced by Republican lawmakers in Texas looks set to pass.

The bill declares that “social media platforms function as common carriers, are affected with a public interest, are central public forums for public debate, and have enjoyed governmental support in the United States,” and that “social media platforms with the largest number of users are common carriers by virtue of their market dominance.”

The law contains strong transparency mandates for social media companies, requiring them to disclose how and why they moderate content, and how and why they prioritize certain types of content, including their own, in user newsfeeds.

It also prohibits censorship on the basis of political viewpoint and allows citizens of Texas to sue tech companies that wrongfully terminate their accounts or censor them. The Texas attorney general will also be empowered to sue tech companies on behalf of groups of users.

At a press conference, Gov. Abbott said the bill aimed to stop the trend of giant social media companies silencing conservatives.

“There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values,” said Gov. Abbott. “This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas.”

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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