Texas Governor Gregg Abbott announced his support for legislation combatting political censorship on social media on Thursday.
"I am joining [Sen. Bryan Hughes] to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints," Abbott announced via Twitter. "Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech."
Abbott will appear in Tyler, Texas at noon on Friday to discuss the legislation alongside Hughes, who also tweeted about the legislation being proposed.
Hughes said the legislation, known as Senate Bill 12, "will help prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans based on the viewpoints they express."
While the specifics of the legislation have not yet been revealed, other states which have attempted to curb social media censorship have faced roadblocks stemming from federal regulations. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, social media companies are largely given free reign to moderate their own platforms without the potential legal scrutiny which traditional publishers may face.
Under American law, federal law always supersedes state law, meaning any attempt to crack down on social media censorship in a way which contradicts Section 230 may be nullified.
Conservatives have repeatedly called for the repeal of Section 230, arguing that it unfairly allows social media companies to effectively act as publishers while enjoying the legal protection a public utility such as a phone company has. Such criticism significantly intensified in the past six months, with conservatives accusing social media companies of bias in their censorship to the benefit of Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election.
Progressives have also been critical of social media companies but, as opposed to conservatives, they have argued that such companies need to do more to censor content. Supporters of social media censorship argue that it is a necessary tool to prevent the spread of radical extremism and conspiracy theories in the public sphere.
Social media censorship is "un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal," Governor Abbott declared.
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