Texas Lawmakers Should Act, Lead the Nation & Protect Freedom of Speech Online

From high-ranking political officials, to everyday Texans, Big Tech is acting with unfettered Power & Influence

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) — The internet is a remarkable place. It’s where we go to connect with friends and family, find important employment and educational opportunities, catch up with the latest news and current events, and, of course, shop around for an array of goods and services.

However, in recent years, there's been a disturbing trend among some of the largest internet-based technology companies and social media platforms.
 
As these internet tech giants have increased in size, they have also been increasingly willing to use their power and dominance in the marketplace in order to silence any dissenting viewpoint or opinion that goes against their worldview.

From high-ranking political candidates and elected officials, to everyday Texans, Big Tech is now acting with unfettered power and influence as they continue to unlawfully censor and ban users simply for expressing their personal or political opinions.

First and foremost, this is a direct affront to our 1st Amendment Rights. While it may not fall under the category of government censorship, these companies often operate as monopolies in their industry so when they silence a user’s opinion that varies from their belief, that user has nowhere else to go. They have effectively been denied their right to speak freely on the issues that matter to them.
 
Thankfully, Texas legislators have caught on to the fundamental unfairness that allows a handful of elitist West Coast tech companies to determine how Texans search, share, shop, and express themselves online.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and many State Legislators are working to support and advance Senate Bill 12 by Senator Brandon Creighton – which would establish some basic ground rules and guidelines for Big Tech companies and social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Senate Bill 12 would:
 
  • Prohibit these companies from blocking, burning, demonetizing, or otherwise discriminating against users based on their viewpoint or geographic location in Texas, and
  • Establishes a process for Texans to restore their social media accounts if they have been unlawfully censored or de-platformed from a site.
Presiding over the Texas Senate, Lt. Governor Patrick has identified this bill as one of his 31 Priorities for this Legislative Session, giving Texans good reason to hope that the days of Big Tech companies controlling online political speech are numbered.

The Internet should be a free and open place for all – not one where the online marketplace is so easily manipulated by Big Tech companies able to control access to the information, products, and goods and services that consumers are able to see.

Unfortunately, that has been the case for quite some time – and now, unless Texas legislators act, this stranglehold on consumer behavior will extend to our free-speech rights.

As more and more Americans – and Texans – use social media platforms to get their news, share information, and engage in online discussions, if these companies are allowed to decide what voices are heard, published (or not) on their sites, or which topics are open for discussion, free speech will suffer and we will quickly see the diversity of opinions online dwindle and be tightened. Their control over our political and social speech will continue to grow.

This is the opposite of a free and open internet.

​​​​​​​The Texas Legislature should be commended for seeking to address these issues before they become insurmountable. Lawmakers should press forward with Senate Bill 12, and help limit the excessive power and control Big Tech has over all of our daily lives.

Given how much the internet and social media is used and relied upon, it is both critical and imperitive that it remain a place where all are free to speak our minds – regardless of whether the opinions and speech expressed align with those of a few West Coast companies.

Texas needs to lead the way.
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