BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — Social media platforms are a place where people can speak their minds as they please.
Senate Bill 12 was approved early Thursday morning, this bill is intended to hold social media companies accountable for restricting users based on what they choose to say or share.
“This is definitely a partisan bill," said Brandon Rottinghaus, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston. "It’s definitely a political bill, Republicans have complained that these organizations are censoring them, there’s not a lot of evidence of that, but it’s been so consistently discussed, and what happened to former President Trump really kind of drives this home,”
This bill is supported by Republican State Senator, Bryan Hughes, who believes these social media companies should release content regulation policies, as well as share records of the content they remove.
“It can be used, to just very easily sway political views that are out in the public, as opposed to social media being that open outlet that it’s supposed to be,” Ruddy Garmendez, Junior at Texas A&M shared with KRHD 25 News.
Ruddy Garmendez believes, that social media should be a place where individuals can speak freely, but recently, says, he has seen these platforms used in both good and bad ways in regards to individuals pushing political views.
“Once it’s geared towards misleading people, deliberately telling lies, or moving towards hate speech, that’s kind of when either social media or the government should step in and kind of help regulate that,” said Garmendez.
Lyndon Wilson believes that opposing views should be shared openly without regulations. He says, that those with different views should be open to hearing the other side, all in a collective effort to help build a better future for everyone.
“It’s kind of vital that we all talk about what we’re for and what we’re against so that we can work together. I think that the way a community works, is that it should be everyone working together to build something that we all would like to see,” said Lyndon Wilson, Junior at Texas A&M.
Companies that violate the bill would face lawsuits. But many say this bill may face legal complications.
“These companies don’t have the same standard that the government does, in terms of protecting the first amendment, so it’s not clear that the courts would see this as something that would really stick to these companies, so it’s not clear whether it would pass, legal muster or not,” said Rottinghaus.
According to the Texas Tribune, Facebook and Google have not made any comments on the topic but Twitter has shared that they are impartial for all users on their platform.
The bill will be reviewed in the House next, which two other bills similar to this one have actually been filed... but did not move forward.
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