Texas takes the lead in fight against social media censorship: Bill would allow state to sue tech giants over free speech violations by: JD Heyes for Natural News
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.” (Related: YOU ARE NEXT.)
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.
Some legal experts think the Texas legislation would not pass constitutional muster. One of them is Kendra Albert, a lecturer at Harvard Law School.
“The federal law contains what we would call a ‘subjective standard,’” Albert, a technology law specialist, told the Tribune. “It’s based on whether the provider thinks that this causes problems, whereas the Texas bill attempts to move it to an objective standard.”
Federal law protects social media platforms under a “good Samaritan” policy that permits them to monitor (and ban/censor) content however they choose, on a subjective basis.
But Hughes, a lawyer himself, along with other attorneys looked over his legislation and determined that it would not supersede federal law. They say it would apply under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act, which protects state citizens from misleading or otherwise bad practices by companies. Anyone who believes they are being unfairly censored by a platform could file a complaint with the Texas attorney general, who would then decide whether to move forward with a case.
Either way, the social media platforms are taking their censorship to whole new levels. In recent days, Alex Jones and his Infowars, along with Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and even Obama supporter and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have all been banned by Facebook.