Texas bill would stop social media apps from blocking Texans for political posts

Approved by Texas Senate, now moves to Texas House
Posted at 10:08 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 23:24:32-04

In the digital era, millions are connected through the tap of a screen.

"It's so unregulated that it has potential for good in freedom of speech and potential for bad," explained Baylor junior Jackson Cockrill.

For Cockrill, apps like Twitter feel like the Wild West of keyboard warriors.

"What happens is you have two different sides on social media. They're just so polarized that the people who agree with you are gonna be like, 'Yeah! Cool!' And the people who don't are gonna be like, 'Who cares? I'm not gonna listen anyways,'" said Cockrill.

In an effort to protect freedom of speech, the Texas Senate approved a bill that prevents apps with over 100 million monthly users, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, from banning Texans from their sites for their political views.

"I think if people want to post on social media, at the end of the day, that's their doing, and so this is just giving them more freedom to do that," said Baylor sophomore Oliver Gordon.

The bill would also require the platforms to disclose their content policies and create reports on what they take down while allowing users to appeal.

But Gordon says social media isn't as informative as people think.

"There's actually research that has been done that shows that the way algorithm works, they actually feed certain news to certain people depending on what they're searching," he said.

Gordon says the bill would give people more freedom of speech, but people still have a social responsibility online.

"I think the most healthy thing for people to do is look at both sources. Subscribe to an ultra-right source and an ultra-left source then somewhere in the middle, that way you're not only filling yourself up with one thing," he advised.

The bill now heads to the Texas House for approval.

Conservative sites like Parlor and Gab would not be protected by the bill, as they have fewer than 100 million monthly users.