As the world’s largest tech and internet companies purge and ban voices they disagree with, Texans are wondering if state lawmakers will do anything to stop the assault on free speech.
After companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon Web Services recently went on a censorship spree, banning and deleting a slew of non-Democrat accounts—including then-President Donald Trump’s social media—Republican lawmakers in other states have taken action to protect the First Amendment.
In Florida, Gov. Rick DeSantis said his top legislative goal for this year is to stop big tech censorship, and State Rep. Randy Fine wrote a letter to DeSantis urging the state to divest public funds from tech companies who are trying to silence free speech.
“It is clear that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in one-sided viewpoint discrimination targeting conservatives,” Fine wrote earlier this month. “These companies allow actual terrorists around the world to use their platforms to target America, Americans, and our allies, without as much as a peep.”
Fine added he will soon be proposing a law to forbid their state or any of their local governments from doing business with those companies.
“Florida taxpayers should not be forced to do business with entities that censor them,” he said.
In North Dakota, Republican legislators have proposed a law enabling citizens to sue Twitter and Facebook for deleted or censored accounts—an action currently not available because of a controversial 1996 federal law (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act) that protects certain big tech companies from such lawsuits.
Trump and other Republicans have said Section 230 should be repealed, with conservatives arguing Big Tech has exploited the law and essentially used it as a liability shield.
But meanwhile, in Texas, apart from Republican politicians posting statements online decrying censorship, Texas GOP Chairman Allen West asked why the state isn’t leading the way in fighting the “grave clear and present danger to this Constitutional Republic.”
“Republican State Legislatures need to examine the possibilities of divesting their state portfolios of Big Tech stocks who are advocating censorship of American citizens. This is already happening in Florida. Hmmm, why ain’t Texas leading on this?” wrote West in a statement. “As well, it should be made clear that any tech companies in Texas embracing the idea of censorship of American citizens are not welcomed in the Lone Star State.”
And while some argue tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter have the right to ban or censor whoever they want, former State Rep. Jonathan Stickland said it’s not that simple.
“You see, for years, our government has provided special treatment to both of these companies. In fact, it has literally taken money from taxpayers and handed it over to Facebook and Twitter to build their companies,” Stickland wrote in an early January post.
“Crony capitalism ruins so much. … Politicians helped create Facebook and Twitter, and now those ‘private companies’ have silenced, and deplatformed the leader of the free world, the U.S. president. Along with many other conservative voices,” Stickland added. “Things aren’t simple anymore.”
Earlier this month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton did issue civil investigative demands to some of the Big Tech companies, but it is unclear whether state lawmakers plan on passing any laws to halt the storm of censorships.
Chairman West, in a separate statement, expounded on Democrats’ recent disturbing actions and comments that have been aimed at shutting down any alternate views and voices:
I did not hear Beijing Biden say anything about censorship in his speech. Biden said nothing about Big Tech and their continued deplatforming of conservatives. He did not address the use of such abhorrent language such as “deprogramming” and “re-education” by those on the left in America. Why didn’t he? It’s simple, really. It’s because unity means conformity, and if these aforementioned declared enemies, — political opposition — do not conform, then they will need to be deprogrammed in order for us to have unity.
“Yes, there will be unity only when there are no voices, thoughts, insights, perspectives, or ideals in opposition to the left,” West added.
Texans concerned about big tech censorship can contact their state representative, state senator, or the governor.