Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared the Lone Star State is “taking a stand” against online censorship of conservatives and backed new legislation to combat the practice.
The two-term governor spoke at a press conference in Tyler, Texas on Friday, where he threw his weight behind state Senate Bill 12, which aims to block social media companies like Facebook and Twitter from censoring conservatives.
Abbott said that the “First Amendment is under assault” from social media companies and that their behavior “is not going to be tolerated in Texas.”
The Texas governor warned that there “is a dangerous movement spreading” across America that is trying to “silence conservative ideas [and] religious beliefs” and said that social media was “the new public square.”
“Now people are going to Facebook and Twitter to talk about their political ideas,” Abbott said before saying that “Facebook and Twitter” are “controlling” and “sometimes denying the flow of information.”
He added that Facebook and Twitter are “in the position” where they pick winning and losing “viewpoints” that are allowed to be shared on their websites.
“Texas is taking a stand against Big Tech political censorship,” declared Abbott. “We are not going to allow it in the Lone Star State.”
The former state attorney general explained that the bill, Senate Bill 12, “prohibits social media companies from censoring Texans” based upon their “viewpoints” and create an avenue for people who have been “canceled, censored or deplatformed” to seek legal action and get back online.
“The United States of America was built upon free speech and healthy public debate,” said the governor. “Big Tech’s efforts to silence conservative viewpoints is un-American, un-Texan and is unacceptable.”
“And, pretty soon, it’s going to be against the law in the state of Texas,” Abbott added.
Abbott then said he would enact the bill by “the end of the session” should it make its way through the legislature.
In a press release Abbott doubled-down on his comments from the press conference, stating “social media companies are now acting as judge and jury on determining what viewpoints are valid” and that he would work with Hughes to get the bill “sign[ed] into law.”
Abbott isn’t the only Republican governor taking aim at tech companies. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has backed legislation giving consumers the right to know how tech companies are using their data, and has proposed fining tech companies that deplatform political candidates.
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