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Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that he’s seeking to outlaw viewpoint discrimination on social media.
“I am joining [state Sen. Bryan Hughes] to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints,” Abbott announced late Thursday night via Twitter.
“Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech,” he asserted. “It’s un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal.”
I am joining @SenBryanHughes to announce a bill prohibiting social media companies from censoring viewpoints.
Too many social media sites silence conservative speech and ideas and trample free speech.
It's un-American, Un-Texan, & soon to be illegal.https://t.co/zSdirRa1pj
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 5, 2021
Abbott has scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon to detail the legislation and his efforts to stop Texans from being censored online.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also been working to end viewpoint discrimination from Big Tech in his state.
Speaking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson last month, DeSantis said he’s looking to protect Floridians’ data privacy, add daily fines to tech companies that deplatform political candidates, and open up a channel for lawsuits against Big Tech from Floridians who’ve been censored over their viewpoint.
“I think they’re we’re going to do three different things,” DeSantis told Fox News last month. “One is protect Floridian’s data privacy from big tech, which is a huge issue, as you said, protect big tech from interfering in an election. And that may mean you display you deplatform, a candidate you don’t like–two guesses as to which type of candidate big tech wouldn’t like–but it also means doing the algorithms in a way that will suppress stories, or accelerate them to benefit a candidate, that’s effectively an in kind contribution.”
“And then the general protections for deplatforming users and what we’re allowing people to do is bring civil suits under the Florida deceptive and unfair trade practices statute and anti-fraud statute and also allowing the state attorney general to do that as well, if big tech is not applying their terms of service in a in a coherent and principled way, which they almost never do,” the governor added. “So we think that this is something that Floridians want protection from, and I think it’ll end up being a really good first step. I mean, there’s always been the question, what do you do about this, I think a lot of us have thought there was something wrong for a long time. But to just sit back and hope it gets better, that clearly wasn’t going to work. So we’re leading, and I think it’ll be good.”
Abbott made headlines earlier this week when he issued Executive Order (GA-34), lifting the statewide mask mandate and fully lifting lockdown measures on businesses and facilities within the state.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent.”
“Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed,” he added. “Today’s announcement does not abandon safe practices that Texans have mastered over the past year. Instead, it is a reminder that each person has a role to play in their own personal safety and the safety of others. With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.”