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Social Media 'De-Platforming' Law Passed By Texas

Social Media 'De-Platforming' Law Passed By Texas
Social media users can no longer be banned by platforms on the basis of their “political viewpoints" in the US state of Texas which has made such a measure illegal in the state.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies have been accused by some of the most prominent Republican politicians of censoring conservative views of users on their platforms.
Facebook and Twitter had banned the former US president Donald Trump after the Capitol was attacked in January by a group of his supporters.
Allegations of trying to stifle conservative views on their platforms have been denied by the social media companies.
However, the terms of service of these platforms which prohibit content such as incitement to violence and co-ordinated disinformation, are enforced by the companies.
"Social media websites have become our modern-day public square," said Texas governor Greg Abbott, after signing the bill into law last week.
"They are a place for healthy public debate where information should be able to flow freely. But there is a dangerous movement by social media companies to silence conservative viewpoints and ideas."
According to the new law, those social media platforms that have more than 50 million users are barred from banning users on the basis of on their political viewpoints.
This law encompasses Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube.
However, there has been criticisms of the new Texas law who argue that the law is contrary to the constitutional right of private businesses of deciding on the type of content that is allowed to be published on their platforms.
"This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and forces websites to host obscene, anti-semitic, racist, hateful and otherwise awful content," said Steve DelBianco, president of NetChoice trade association.
"Moderation of user posts is crucial to keeping the internet safe for Texas families, but this bill would put the Texas government in charge of content policies," DelBianco added.
While the new law is slated to come into effect in December, it is expected that there would be legal challenges against the law.
Social networks were barred from de-platforming politicians, under a new law in Florida which was passed in May. But a federal judge suspended some parts of that bill, ruling that the parts were in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.
The US Department of Justice has also challenged in court another much debated law passed in Texas which seeks to change the rules around abortion in the state.
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Christopher J. Mitchell

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