Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed a bill that prohibits large social media companies from banning users or blocking content based on their political viewpoints.
The law targets companies with at least 50 million monthly users in the US, including Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube. The legislation, billed by the governor’s office as protecting Texans “from wrongful censorship on social media platforms,” would allow residents of the state to sue companies for reinstatement of accounts.
“There is a dangerous movement by some social media companies to silence conservative ideas and values,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a video posted to Facebook. “This is wrong and we will not allow it in Texas.”
The new law comes amid rising pressure from several Republican lawmakers who alleged that Twitter, Facebook and other social networks harbor anti-conservative bias. The social networks have denied those charges.
In June, a federal judgethat would that would have allowed the state to punish social media companies for banning politicians or political candidates from their platforms. The Florida bill, signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, was proposed after the high-profile banning earlier this year of President Donald Trump from Twitter and Facebook for violating their policies after the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
Facebook declined to comment, while Twitter and Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.