Tyler news conference: Abbott, Hughes to promote legislation limiting social platforms’ ability to block opinions

Texas Politics

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Gov. Greg Abbott will visit Tyler on Friday to draw attention to the ongoing efforts of state Sen. Bryan Hughes to limit the power of social media platforms to block viewpoints they don’t agree with.

Hughes, R-Mineola, is the author Senate Bill 12 which would prohibit interactive platforms such as Facebook and Twitter from being able to “censor a user, a user’s expression, or a user’s ability to receive the expression of another person.”

The bill would also allow Texans who felt they were censored to be able to take legal action.

Abbott will join Hughes during a news conference set for noon Friday in the atrium of Plaza Tower, 110 N. College Ave.

“Censorship is a real concern not just in Texas but across the country,” Hughes said in a recent interview with Wes Rapaport of Nexstar Texas. “This has been a problem for a while. It seems to be becoming more acute. You know, social media, that’s the new town square, right? That’s where folks go to share, ideas, to debate, to hash things out.

“And unfortunately, we have a small group of people, really an elite … and they want to be the gatekeepers for all of our free speech. And they are a common carrier. These social media companies are in the communications business, just like the telephone company or the cable company.”

In the previous Texas legislative session, Hughes filed a similar bill. He has said that too often social media platform operators are serving as censors of free speech.

Hughes pointed out that social media platforms can remove content because they don’t like someone’s politics or religion and that federal law currently allows this to happen.

“We’ve worked on this (bill) with law professors and constitutional scholars — some real sharp people — that we believe (this) threads the needle around the federal law and sets a way for Texas to hold these people accountable,” Hughes said.

Hughes said Facebook blocked a Texas Republican Caucus promotion of its support of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act because it “would lead to a negative experience.”

“That’s what they told us about that ad. There’s nothing offensive. They didn’t like our politics,” Hughes said.

“They can’t be the gatekeepers for free speech,” Hughes said in the interview. “That’s not gonna work. … These folks should not be given that power. They have so much power. And again, given this power by the government. We can’t let them abuse it like they have been.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 29 2021 07:00 pm

Trending Right Now

Don't Miss

Community Calendar

KETK Twitter & Facebook

FOX51 Twitter & Facebook