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We fight the internet's ugliness side-by-side with you.

Yesterday, WashingTech joined a diverse group of 20 organizations to oppose HB 20 Texas.

What does HB 20 Texas do?

The State of Texas’ bill lets users post hate speech and disinformation without fear of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other large social media platforms’ censorship.

HB 20 Texas asserts a vague standard of “viewpoint diversity” to give far-right Texas-based users the right to post and receive harmful content on social media networks with over 50 million users.

Such content includes Trump’s alleged incitement to the January 6th insurrection.

Viewpoint Diversity

Far-right supporters and their conservative allies keep trying to get conservative regulators and federal courts to define “viewpoint diversity.” They do this by attempting to exclude a person’s “protected class status” — race, color, religion, sex and national origin — as a relevant factor.

This result would hinder a lower court’s ability to characterize a diverse user’s viewpoints as being at least partially reflective of their experiences as members of a protected class.

That is nonsensical.

Black Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas is a George H.W. Bush-appointee. Thomas himself denies being a protected class member. That is why he raised “viewpoint diversity” during oral arguments in Federal Communications Commission v. Prometheus Radio Project, 592 U.S. ____ (2021).

In that case, “viewpoint diversity” wasn’t before the Court. Now, Thomas wants his colleagues on the Court to review the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold HB 20 Texas.

For more, read our white paper on the history of viewpoint diversity.

🎙 Listen to Chamber of Progress' Elizabeth Banker for More on Content Moderation

What’s next?

We are waiting to see if the Supreme Court will hear this matter.

The coalition argues that private platforms are not “government actors.” Therefore, as private actors, social media platforms are not subject to the same First Amendment restrictions against speech suppression to which the Court would hold a government actor.

The bill protects conservative speakers on large platforms without providing Equal Protection to progressive speakers on smaller ones.

WashingTech will keep arguing that, besides violating the First Amendment, HB 20 Texas also violates the Fourteenth.

The bill protects conservative speakers on large platforms without providing Equal Protection to progressive speakers on smaller ones.

One such small platform, Parler, a right-wing alternative to Twitter, could ban a progressive Texas-based speaker, without fear of legal action.

Texas Republicans can now rely on conservative-oriented platforms, like Parler, to suppress progressive speech. Citizens from protected classes are statistically more likely to publish progressive content. They make up a massive share of the Democratic Party.

McDermott Will & Emery represents the Progress Chamber, our partner who led the filing.

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