Imagine having your telephone cut off, or your ability to read or write letters to your local newspaper suspended, because of your political convictions.
Does that sound like America: barring people from the public square for the way they think?
It’s what social media companies have been doing, some as prominent as the recently ousted President Donald Trump, and it’s what Texas just outlawed, according to The Washington Post.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a ban on social media companies “deplatforming” users or removing their posts due to political content. The new law states that social media sites cannot ban users “simply based on their political viewpoints.”
Subject to the law are companies with at least 50 million users in the United States — which encompasses Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube – and residents are now able to sue the companies for restoration of their accounts.
“Social media websites have become our modern-day public square,” said Abbott, a Republican, after he signed the bill into law on Sept. 9. “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.”
President Donald Trump was deplatformed from Facebook and Twitter, though he was among the highest-profile users of each when Americans protested at the U.S. Capitol in January and broke into the building in an attempt to protest and prevent Joe Biden from illegitimately taking office.
Twitter claimed that it canceled Trump over concerns the then-president would use social media to incite violence after the attack.
The new Texas law would let social media networks ban speech only if it involves “specific threats of violence,” Ars Technica reported.