Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) is taking measures to protect his constituents from social media censorship, a practice he says is "un-American and un-Texan."
During a press conference on Friday, Abbott announced he'll be signing a bill that would prohibit big tech companies from banning or de-platforming Texans based on their political or religious viewpoints.
“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 the governor.
This would not be the first time the Texas governor has signed legislation to combat censorship. Abbott signed a similar bill in 2019 called the “campus free speech” law that aimed to protect students’ First Amendment rights.
“There is a dangerous movement spreading across the country trying to try to silence conservative ideas, religious beliefs,” said the governor Friday. “We saw that first arise on college campuses.”
Abbot named Facebook and Twitter as key targets of the bill, citing their history of censoring conservative viewpoints.
“It [the bill] 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,” Abbott added.
The governor claimed that social media has become a “public square” and said censorship in those forums is “un-American.”
“These are the areas that used to be the courthouse square where people would come and talk," he said. "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.”
“The United States of America was built on freedom of speech and healthy public debate,” continued Abbott. “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.”