Houston, TX

Governor Abbott Signed a New Texas Law that Targets Social Media

Tom Handy

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Governor Abbott signs another lawPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Texas Governor Abbott signed a bill that prevents social media companies from banning posts based on political reasons. The bill requires social media companies with more than 50 million followers to disclose their content moderation policy and appeals process.

Houston is the biggest city in Texas and is likely to see social media companies rethink how they ban posts from users here. The city has 2.3 million people.

This decision angered political representatives in Houston with the recent passing of Senate Bill 1 on Texas voting laws.

Houston Justice and the Arc of Texas, say the legal intervention was needed to “ensure that the State does not continue to erect barriers” that have both the “intent and effect” of suppressing the votes of marginalized Texans.

"Black votes were suppressed today. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has intentionally signed away democracy for so many. We are disgusted," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement.
"We will always defend the freedom of speech in Texas, which is why I am proud to sign House Bill 20 into law to protect first amendment rights in the Lone Star State," Abbott said in a statement. "Social media websites have become our modern-day public square. They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely — but there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas. That is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas."

Governor Abbott shared his thoughts on the power of social media.

There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values,” he said, without citing evidence to support that claim. “This is wrong, and we will not allow it in Texas.”

Conservatives have attacked social media companies after Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube banned President Trump from sharing his comments on the platforms. President Trump filed lawsuits against the social media companies this past July.

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Governor Abbott and President Trump talkingScreenshot from Twitter

The CEO of the Chambers of Progress Adam Kovacevich believes the Texas law runs against the First Amendment. Republicans see this as an opportunity they can attempt to exploit.

This will certainly be ruled unconstitutional as well, but Republicans won’t pay any price because they view it as good politics,” he said. “It’s going to keep heading into a First Amendment buzz saw.”

Kovacevich and other tech groups believe this could open the door for hate groups to share their hateful and racist content online.

It will be interesting to see the results of the law.

What do you think bout the latest law signed by Governor Abbott?

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