The Texas Senate passed a bill on Thursday prohibiting social media platforms from banning residents based on their political opinions.
The Texas Tribune reported that Senate Bill No. 12 was passed after 2 am on Thursday. According to the Tribune, the measure now enters the State Capitol, where two identical bills have not yet moved out of its committee.
The initiator of the Senate bill, Texas Senator Brian Hughes (R), said in a video posted on Twitter that the bill would “return Texans online.”
“I think all of us must recognize that social media companies are the new city squares. Hughes said that a small group of people in San Francisco cannot ask the rest of us to express freedom of speech. This requires an open exchange of ideas, Senate No. 1
After hours of debate, Senate Bill 7 (election integrity) and Senate Bill 12 (social media censorship) passed the Texas Senate this morning. #txlege#SB12#SB7 @Scott_SanfordTX @BriscoeCain pic.twitter.com/HdQPc2FBy7
— Senator Bryan Hughes (@SenBryanHughes) April 1, 2021
SB 12 prohibits the platform from censoring “users, user’s expression or user’s ability to receive other people’s expressions” based on their opinions or geographic location text. The measure also requires social media companies to publicly disclose information about their user-targeted content, promotional content and services, and appropriate content practices.
The bill will also allow the state attorney general to sue platforms that violate the law and recover the costs incurred when the lawsuit is filed.
This measure applies to any platform and service that “has more than 100 million active users functionally within a calendar month.”
When the measure was introduced, conservatives complained that “large technology companies” including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were positioning their content on their political views.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) expressed his concern about “censorship” In a statement Supported the state Senate bill in early March.
Abbott said: “The United States is based on free speech and healthy public debate, and efforts to silence conservative views on social media are wrong and weaken the public’s right to speak.”
He said: “Senator Sugs on the 12th will oppose the political censorship of big technology and protect the right of Texans to freedom of speech.”