Content Moderation

09/09/2021

Texas’ Attempt to Regulate Speech Online is Unconstitutional and Dangerous  

Steve DelBianco
Steve DelBianco President and CEO

Threatening the free speech of Texans threatens the free speech of Americans everywhere. Our Constitution has protected the ability to share our news and views for centuries. By restricting Americans’ right to free speech online, this Texas bill is a slippery slope to harming free speech writ large.

So today, NetChoice condemned Governor Abbott’s signing of Texas’ unconstitutional social media bill HB 20, which doubles-down on anti-tech rhetoric by having the government regulate online free speech.

“This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and forces websites to host obscene, antisemitic, racist, hateful, and otherwise awful content—all things Texas voters do not want to see while online and as our polling shows” said Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice. “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.”

“By empowering the government to control online speech, HB 20 clearly violates the First Amendment” continued DelBianco. “This law essentially creates a new Fairness Doctrine for the internet which will only make it harder for conservatives to share their news and views online.”

“HB 20 has the same First Amendment flaws as the Florida law that a federal court blocked this summer. The same outcome will almost certainly occur in Texas,” continued DelBianco.

NetChoice polling of Texas voters regarding HB 20 found:

  • 61% of Texas Republicans don’t want the government to force social media to host content that offends users.
  • 74% of Texas Republicans think the government should allow social media to remove offensive posts to make their sites more family and workplace friendly.
  • 61% of Texans would not support a politician that makes it harder for websites to flag or remove user-posted videos and images that are inappropriate for children.

You can find our polling results here.

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