They say everything is bigger in Texas.
As the most populous Republican state in the nation, Texas is a trendsetter as far as politics is concerned. As Texas goes, so goes the nation.
On challenging Big Tech’s malign influence, Texas has kind of slacked in that regard. Ron DeSantis’s leadership in Florida has beaten it to the punch when it comes to putting forward measures to combat the censorship of right-wing content on social media.
However, Governor Greg Abbott has finally gotten the memo after he held a press conference on March 5, 2021 announcing the state’s efforts to ban social media platforms from engaging in censorship of political discourse.
In tandem with State Senator Bryan Hughes, Abbott unveiled his bill, Senate Bill 12, whose principal goal is to “help prohibit social media companies from censoring Texans based on the viewpoints they express.”
“Conservative speech will not be canceled in the state of Texas,” Abbott declared. “We see that the First Amendment is under assault by the social media companies, and that is not going to be tolerated in Texas.”
Abbott is of the opinion there is “a dangerous movement” to muzzle right wing discourse across the nation. The Texas governor alleges that Big Tech companies are using their content moderation guidelines to infringe on the free speech rights of right wing individuals on social media.
“Senator Hughes’ bill, Senate Bill 12, protects Texans from being wrongfully censored on social media, making sure that their voices are going to be heard and not canceled or silenced,” Abbott added. Unlike many basic conservatives, who stupidly retort that Big Tech companies “are private businesses, bro”, Abbott acknowledged that platforms like Facebook and Twitter have morphed into modern-day public squares, which merit some degree of free speech protection.
But now that the flow of information is being restricted by Big Tech commissars, Abbott believes that decisive action must be taken to restrain Tech oligarchs’ anti-freedom desires.
“They are choosing which viewpoints are going to be allowed to be presented,” the Texas Governor claimed. “Texas is taking a stand against Big Tech political censorship: We’re not going to allow it in the Lone Star state.”
Bryan Hughes’ bill would establish social media platforms as “central public forums for public debate.” The bill would ban social media platforms from censoring users or their posts. In addition, social media platforms are banned from preventing users from making political posts that run counter to the prevailing leftist ideology.
“This bill will give Texans a right to get back online when they’re mistreated in that way,” Hughes commented.
Going back to Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis broke the ice by voicing his support for legislation that would lay the smackdown on Big Tech. However, his efforts to constrain Big Tech’s influence go much further than Texas’ current proposal, which the Blaze observed:
The bill DeSantis unveiled would go farther than the Texas bill, requiring social media platforms to give notice and disclosures about changes to their content standards or terms of service, giving users the ability to opt out of algorithms used on the platform, and ensuring that content moderation policies are applied equally to all users. The Florida bill would also impose fines and penalties for social media websites that interfere in elections by deplatforming candidates for office or using their technology to boost or suppress one candidate over another.
DeSantis is one of the future champions of American nationalism. All governors should follow in his footsteps.
Texas should be applauded for standing up to the Masters of the Universe. However, it needs to continue pressing on. Demographics are changing the state, and eventually Republicans may no longer be able to be elected there.
The first step for Republicans to remain relevant is to promote online free speech, which will allow GOP supporters to talk about controversial issues such as demographic shift. Something is better than nothing and the Texas Republican Party is at least showing some signs of concern with Big Tech despotism.