The new rule protects users who want to voice an opinion that isn’t supported by Silicon Valley’s liberal elite. Big Tech companies are prohibited from banning users “just because of their political opinions,” according to the regulation.
It would empower residents to sue firms with at least 50 million users in the United States, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and would allow them to sue if they were blocked or restricted.
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After signing the bill into law on Thursday, Abbott claimed, “Social media networks have become our modern-day public square.”
‘They should be a space for healthy public debate and free flow of information – but there is a disturbing trend among social media corporations to stifle conservative opinions and ideas.’
‘That is illegal in Texas, and we will not allow it.’
Conservatives have accused these social media behemoths of suppressing their views and unfairly targeting them over liberal and Democratic users, according to Dailymail.co.uk.
However, the social media sites have always defended themselves against such allegations.
The new law comes months after a group of Trump fans stormed the Capitol in January, causing him to be banned from Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter stated it removed Trump from the site due to concerns that he might use social media to promote violence in the aftermath of the assault.
However, under a new Texas legislation, it is prohibited for social media sites with more than 50 million monthly active users to exclude people based on their political beliefs, and it also prohibits firms from demonetizing users or erasing their content.
According to the Washington Examiner, it would also compel social media companies to be clear about their content moderation standards and report on any posts they remove, as well as provide a complaint system on their websites.
‘It is now law in Texas that conservative opinions on social media cannot be blocked,’ Abbott said after signing the bill.
The bill failed earlier this year when Democrats filled the state assembly to prevent the passage of unpopular partisan bills, but it was revived in a special session in July and passed through the state legislature at the end of August.
Utah, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are also considering similar legislation.
It was also likely to infringe on private companies’ constitutional rights to control what is said on their platforms.
The Texas law claims that social media platforms are ‘common carriers,’ and that they must be regulated as such.
The proposal was popularized earlier this year by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who proposed in June that social media businesses be regulated similarly to common carriers, such as phone companies, which are subject to unique laws owing to the importance of the services they provide.
When State Rep. Briscoe Cain first presented the bill on the House floor, he said, “At this point, a small handful of social media sites drive the national narrative and have massive influence over the progress and developments of medicine and science, social justice movements, election outcomes, and public thought.”
However, in June, a federal judge delayed the implementation of a Florida statute that would have allowed
In that case, the judge determined that the law’s prohibition on deplatforming individuals may infringe on firms’ free speech rights, and that the legislation as a whole is “viewpoint-based.”
Much of the bill’s content, according to the court, was “completely at conflict with acknowledged constitutional norms.”
Some proponents of free speech argue that the Texas law will have the same effect.
‘This bill betrays conservative beliefs, violates the First Amendment, and requires websites to display obscene, antisemitic, racist, hateful, and other deplorable content,’ said Steve DelBianco, head of the NetChoice trade association.