An anti-censorship law has been blocked in Texas after a federal judge found that the First Amendment rights of social media giants outweigh those of their users.
In a statement released by his spokesperson, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the law, slammed the judge’s ruling as “hostile” to freedom of speech, the Daily Wire reported.
Judge scraps law
The law bans social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook from censoring political speech and is similar to one signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). That law was also blocked by a judge, as the Daily Wire noted.
The laws reflect growing demands on the right to regulate or break up Big Tech giants that censor conservative voices. But social media companies have a First Amendment right to moderate their platforms, Judge Robert Pitman argued in handing down a preliminary injunction.
“Social media platforms have a First Amendment right to moderate content disseminated on their platforms,” Pitman wrote, according to The Hill.
Of course, many would argue these companies are using that “right” to silence powerless, ordinary people and push them out of the public square.
While those calling for regulation have argued that social media companies should be viewed more like public utilities, Pitman dismissed Texas’ argument that Facebook and Twitter are “common carriers,” according to the Dialy Wire.
Defending free speech
Abbott’s spokesperson Renae Eze said the governor would appeal the ruling, stating, “Allowing biased social media companies to cancel conservative speech is hostile to the free speech foundation America was built on. In Texas, we will always fight to defend Texans’ freedom of speech.”
Democrats and Big Tech companies have justified social media censorship as a fight against so-called “hate speech” and “misinformation,” which have become broad terms for essentially anything Democrats disagree with.
Notable targets of Big Tech’s repression include Donald Trump, who was banned by Facebook and Twitter while still a sitting president, and 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was recently acquitted of political, trumped-up murder charges.
After Pitman’s ruling, Big Tech trade groups did little to hide their ideological motivations. Adama Kovacevich, head of the left-wing Chamber of Progress, celebrated the decision as a victory against naughty right-wingers of all kinds, from “anti-vaxxers” to “insurrectionists.”
“Texas’ law would have forced online platforms to pull the referees from social media sites, giving anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, and insurrectionists free reign,” he said, calling the decision “a big victory for social media users who want less hate speech and misinformation in their online communities,” according to Chron.