Texas takes the lead in fight against social media censorship: Bill would allow state to sue tech giants over free speech violations

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
By Paul Martin

by: JD Heyes
Monday, May 06, 2019

Many Americans believe that California is the nation’s trend-setting state, but in many ways Texas should have that honor.

In addition to being a leading driver of our nation’s economic growth, the Lone Star State is a leader in reclaiming freedom and liberty while pushing back against Left-wing authoritarianism, as evidenced by new legislation aimed at holding the social media giants accountable.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the Texas Senate last month approved a measure — Senate Bill 2373, sponsored by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) — that holds “social media platforms acceptable for restricting users’ speech based on personal opinions.”

The site noted further:

Hughes said the bill applies to social media platforms that advertise themselves as unbiased but still censor users. The Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously approved [in April].

A search of the Texas legislature’s website shows that SB 2372 was referred to the Texas House on April 25, but no further action has been taken as of yet.

If approved, however, Texas would become the first state that specifically passed a law authorizing lawsuits against social media behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube over their efforts to ban or otherwise censor individuals, groups, news sites, or other entities over their content or political opinions.

“Senate Bill 2373 tries to prevent those companies that control these new public spaces, this new public square, from picking winners and losers based on content,” Hughes said in the committee hearing. “Basically if the company represents, ‘We’re an open forum and we don’t discriminate based on content,’ then they shouldn’t be able to discriminate based on content.”

During a hearing last month, Hughes cited a recent advertisement on Facebook by the Texas Senate Republican Caucus that supported an anti-abortion bill; the ad was flagged, he said, because it was deemed a potential “negative experience” by the Facebook speech Nazis.

Hughes said a Facebook official told him that the company objected to the ad because it sought to have users share it. But, he continued, the same Senate GOP caucus ran an ad regarding the chamber’s property tax bill that users were also asked to share, and the company had no problem with it.

No citations of a “negative experience.”

The bill’s sponsor thinks it’ll pass constitutional muster
The Texas Tribune said it contacted Facebook to find out what was going on and reported that a company official said the platform was attempting to reduce clickbait. The official said any post asking readers to “like” or “share” it matches the definition of clickbait.

But of course, that’s one of purposes behind social media; being sociable with others’ posts, which includes (anyone?) sharing them.

The Rest…HERE

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