The governor of Texas signed a bill on Thursday banning social media platforms from removing posts because of the political views expressed in them, a measure that is likely to attract significant regulatory scrutiny after when a similar law was blocked by a Florida judge.
Under the new rules, major platforms like Facebook and Twitter cannot remove, remove, or censor content because of a user’s political views, or ban users altogether. Companies will also need to publish regular reports showing how often they receive complaints about content and how often they take down posts.
Private citizens can sue social media companies for violations of the law, as can the state attorney general. The law applies to companies with more than 50 million monthly active users in the United States and applies to anyone who lives in Texas, does business there, or “shares or receives” social media content in the state. state.
Conservative states are increasingly taking aim at the ways in which Silicon Valley companies police their platforms. Similar proposals have surfaced in dozens of states around the country this year, reflecting the frustration of Republican voters with rules governing what they can say online. The bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott of Texas applies that language: It says it bans “censorship” online and declares major social media sites “regular service providers.” , a kind of tightly regulated company like a telephone provider.
The new laws have drawn critics who say they violate First Amendment rights for private companies to decide what content they host. Industry groups have sued over a Florida law that barred certain candidates for public office from using social media. A judge agreed to block the law while the courts consider that legal challenge.
The social media companies say they are not intentionally downplaying conservative views and personalities. Conservative figures often run some of the most popular sites online. Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Google, which owns YouTube, also declined to comment.