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US: Texas legislature passes bill preventing social media companies “censoring conservative views”

"Unconstitutional Texas social media bill attacks human rights", 9 September 2021.

Yesterday, September 2, the U.S. state of Texas’ legislature passed a bill that aims to stop social media companies from “censoring conservative views.” This bill and others like it across the United States have been drafted in direct response to platforms’ removal of misinformation, incitement to violence, and other content that platforms have deemed in violation of their community guidelines. The legislation includes vague, sweeping language prohibiting platforms from banning or blocking a person based on viewpoint or geographic location, attempting to give judges broad powers to overturn social media platforms’ decisions... 

[T]he legislation violates the U.S. Constitution and would further harm marginalized communities. Additionally, there is no evidence of anti-conservative bias on social media... 

The bill would apply to companies with at least 100 million users... It would mandate that companies disclose their content moderation policies, release reports on content removed, and establish an appeals process for content takedowns — transparency provisions that Access Now welcomes. 

Despite these accountability improvements, the legislation fails to recognize that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution makes it possible for companies to decide what cannot be said on their platforms, including harmful speech...