If you’re a resident of Texas who’s been unfairly silenced by a social media network, such as Twitter or Facebook, you can now sue for damages.
The law was previously struck down a year ago as being unconstitutional, but has now been reinstated.
Specifically, the HB20 bill allows social media users to sue if they have evidence of being kicked off or banned from social media, due to their political points of view.
Texas conservatives first put through the law at the state level after President Trump was banned from Twitter. They were concerned about censorship and wanted social media users to have the right to hit back.
Big Tech Flips Out
Big tech has been carefully watching what’s going on in Texas, worried and panicking that a law such as this could pass. It makes their decisions have much bigger consequences, and stops far-left employees from just kicking off whoever they disagree with.
The Computer Communications Industry Association and NetChoice are two big tech lobbyist groups who managed to get the law paused last year. They said if it went through, social media users would be able to pump “hate” and misleading lies all over the internet.
This worked a year ago, but now it’s been struck down. An appeals court heard from the state, along with its view that social media needs to be open to all views, and agreed fully.
As the judge said, social media networks have a legal obligation to uphold free speech and can’t selectively decide what speech is agreeable to them.
The consequences of this decision will be very big. They are also being closely watched by other states like Florida, which are trying to put through similar laws, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Wrong. The texas law prohibits social media co's form banning people off their platform based on political beliefs. How much money did @Google @Meta @twitter pay you to file this garbage lawsuit anyways? @elonmusk #ElonMuskBuysTwitter #TwitterTakeover
— JohnnyUtahSurfs (@JohnnySurfs) May 14, 2022
The Law is the Law
Right now in Texas, this law is now in effect. Highly-paid lawyers from industry groups are already getting ready to appeal the law and get it scrapped, but as of this writing, it’s the law in Texas.
Florida had its similar law blocked a year ago, but is actively working to appeal that decision as well.
As of right now, if you live in Texas and have been booted off a platform with more than 50 million users, such as Facebook or Twitter, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
These companies are going to be much more careful about who they silence in Texas and soon, possibly, in Florida.
We hear a lot about freedom of speech and censorship, but the truth is that it’s legal battles like this that protect our rights, not just protests or strong feelings.
It's not obvious to me that the Texas social media law would require platforms to carry the Buffalo shooting video. Removing it would be a content-based decision for sure, but I don't think it's viewpoint-based.
— evelyn douek (@evelyndouek) May 16, 2022
The Bottom Line
It remains to be seen exactly how this law will be applied in court. However, as of now, social media giants have no ability to censor you for your political views in Texas.