Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Announces On Twitter The Livestreaming On Facebook Of His Signing Of A Bill That Removes 1st Amendment Rights For Both

from the you-did-what-now? dept

We've talked a bunch about just how incredibly unconstitutional Texas's social media content moderation bill, HB20 is, so I don't really need to cover any of that again. You can look it up -- or just read how a court found Florida's similar bill unconstitutional.

Still, the entire point of this bill is to play up a culture war for grandstanding politicians, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants to grandstand with the best of them (even if he's a pathetic copy of some of the other grandstanders in his party). Even so, it still was quite something to see Abbott announce on Twitter that people should watch him on Facebook as he signed the bill into law -- a bill that would attempt to remove the 1st Amendment rights against compelled speech from both companies.

He's doing this on the same day that the Justice Department is suing Texas for its equally unconstitutional anti-abortion "let everyone sue everyone and let the courts sort it out" bill.

I know that some people are concerned about this bill, and what awful things it will do for social media, but all it's really going to do is waste a ton of taxpayer money in Texas, which Abbott and the other faux culture warriors want to use as basically taxpayer-funded campaign dollars to get their names in the headlines, talking about they're "fighting for free speech" when all they're doing is removing 1st Amendment rights, abusing the power the voters entrusted with them, and throwing their money away on lawyers who have nothing legitimate to defend.

It's political theater, with your speech and your tax dollars being held hostage. No one should accept this as reasonable, but these are the times we live in, where corruption and violations of the oath of office for the sake of some dumb culture war are more important than governing and doing what's right.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, compelled speech, content moderation, greg abbott, hb20, social media, texas
Companies: facebook, twitter


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 3:31pm

    "Fight for free speech"

    This isn't a "Fight for free speech," if anything, it's "throwing a fight" (as in taking an intentional dive)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:00pm

    In the center ring . . .

    It seems that Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are in an epic battle to see who can be the biggest horse's ass in this performative authoritarian shit-show.

    The shame of it all is that so many people are buying into their nonsense instead of writing it off as the natural fertilizer that it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 12:17am

      Re: In the center ring . . .

      It's impressive. Both of them seem to be deliberately trying to kill off their constituents, but Abbot seems to also be actively trying to reduce the quality of life and access to freedom for the survivors.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul B, 10 Sep 2021 @ 5:40am

        Re: Re: In the center ring . . .

        Abbot knows his next election is going to be a quite the show. He fled Texas in the snow storm, he let power companies charge any rate they want after not winterizing them 10 years after the last storm, he could give a rats ass if Blue areas were freezing to death, and now he's passing every Trump fueled law the state could ask for to appeal to his base that he's actively using as a pawn in the whole covid mess.

        The other side has so much it can throw at him, from dead relatives, to abandonment of the people in a time of crisis that he has to play "see, I get shit done" to his own base. Despite the fact that he's being ignored by school districts, and I am fairly sure the large metro areas will ignore the "1 ballot box per county" law that was just passed as well.

        Just the logistics of that last one alone screams voter suppression.

        Its already time to get popcorn to watch the next Texas Election.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:00am

          Re: Re: Re: In the center ring . . .

          I'm interested but slightly concerned about the way the next elections go there. Both Abbott and Cruz have done more than enough for people to kick them out on their ass, and Cruz barely managed to beat Buttigieg last time around. But, the combination of dirty tricks and morons are concerning when you think about the potential for sanity to win out the day.

          There's room for an embarrassingly total defeat, but also room for something very bad.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2021 @ 9:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: In the center ring . . .

            Do you mean Beto almost beat Cruz? Pete Buttigieg was running for President last year, and Beto O’Rourke was running for Senate against Cruz in the midterms before that, I believe.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:09pm

    seems to me

    ... that these guys think Hypocrisy is a sport to be won. They keep trying to out-do each other. Is there some sort of award we aren't aware of?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:33pm

      Re: seems to me

      More like they are attracting the voters who will vote for an authoritarian state, and as such are turkeys voting for Christmas.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:56pm

      Re: seems to me

      Is there some sort of award we aren't aware of?

      I guess that depends on whether or not you're aware of the Republican nomination for president.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 5:42pm

      Hypocrisy

      I'm pretty sure the double standards, the inconsistent ethics and the disregard of rule of law, and equality are intentional and consistent with the agenda of Abbott, DeSantis, the GOP and the MAGA movement who are all, themselves parts of the transnational white power movement.

      Their agenda is to secure an ethnostate for white male landowners, and to dispel the rights and liberties of everyone else, even if it means dissolving the democratic institutions of the US now that even those can't be relied on to preserve the stratification of society.

      They're not interested in consistent rules for everyone, just rules that make sure white rich MAGA party members stay on top.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 2:38am

        Re: Hypocrisy

        Wouldn't it be better for them to move to Afghanistan, where the Taliban has already established such a state? (with a sufficient flexible definition of what it means to be white)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 2:51am

          Re: Re: Hypocrisy

          It's a shame, really. If it weren't for that pesky "Islam is culturally distinct from Christianity even though they technically worship the same god" thing, they'd already have several established theocracies to choose from. I wonder if there's some way to change that so those places are more attractive, rather than trying to ruin everything for people who don't belong to either sect.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            David, 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Hypocrisy

            If it weren't for that pesky "Islam is culturally distinct from Christianity even though they technically worship the same god" thing

            Give me a break. MAGA is culturally distinct from Christianity even though they technically worship the same God (more or less), too. The insane bullshit about Trump (a serial con artist, womanizer, hate monger, defrauder and certainly not going to fit through a needle's ear even without taking all the stolen loot with him) being sent by God to the U.S. as God's own nation: that just doesn't fit anything in the Bible at all.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypocrisy

              Well, true. These self-proclaimed "Christians" do have a very different idea of what that means to many other sects of their religion, and their adherence to someone who is essentially the poster boy for everything Christ opposed is fairly silly.

              But, yeah, the only thing they object to in Islamic theocracies is the Islam part, they're fine with everything else in principle.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Hypocrisy

          Could we maybe stop making middle-eastern, Muslim-dominated countries our go-to when we criticize oppressive theocrats? This is a home-grown white American Christian problem. Casually stereotyping people in the middle-east doesn't help.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 11:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Hypocrisy

            It's not really a stereotype to describe the Taliban as oppressive theocrats. That's exactly what they actually are.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 11:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Hypocrisy

            Also, Afghanistan is not in the middle east, so you were actually the first person to mention that region.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Hypocrisy

            Well, there are oppressive Islamic theocracies so it's not really stereotyping. Claiming that all Muslims wish to live in such a place and they're all do the same thing given the chance would be, but that's the realm of people who don't understand the fundamental issues in the middle east (such as Sunni vs Shia, etc.)

            But, I'd maintain that apart from the Muslim thing, the majority of what the fundamentalist regimes in those places have done would be what the hardline fundamentalist Christians would do, with a few minor alterations.

            Also, the Taliban aren't exactly middle eastern.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:30pm

    Ay, K-dawg now's your chance to come out in support of the First Amendment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 4:33pm

    Thanks, Greg

    "Greg Abbott deep throats black men. #politicalviews #thanksgreg#

    "He's the perfect height... #politicalviews #thanksgreg"

    "Thank the slow guy for protecting trolling. #politicalviews #thanksgreg"

    "Thankfully Twitter can no longer remove this stuff #thanksgreg #politicalviews#

    Good job Streisand effecting...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 5:13pm

    'Our fictional rights protect us against consequences!'

    The only thing more pathetic than such a blatant attack on the first amendment and boasting about it on social media is that a higher than zero number of people have fallen for it either due to gullibility or because they refuse to accept what assholes they/their friends are and that that's why social media platforms and the users on them don't want them around.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 5:18pm

    Looks like Texas is set to overtake Florida by going Full Retard Ahead.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 7:15pm

    So Abbott wants to run for POTUS.
    Keep the base engaged and pray enough of them can still vote from the ICU to sneak him into office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 9 Sep 2021 @ 9:16pm

    Because... Texas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 10:34pm

    I wonder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 9 Sep 2021 @ 10:44pm

      Re: I wonder.

      Didnt these public officials sign a contract to get into office?
      And I would think the womens rights amendment should cover 1/2 of this problem.
      I can see every women NOT re-electing Any of these people.

      What ever happened to the idea that as long as I dont bother or hurt others, Im on my own?
      I like the one about, in the past, the state ASKED the electric corps to Build abit of weather protection from COLD. This was NOT the first year this happened. And if ya dont know, its simple, that Natural gas turns solid below 30-40 degrees. So the system Lost all the pressure to make the gas FLOW, because it all went from Gas, liquid, to ICE(solid). All it would have taken is a heating system, and Gas lines BELOW 3 feet.(better at 5 foot). THE STATION froze. Not really the lines, if they had heated them,m there would NOT have been a problem.

      NOW, twitter and FB have recourse. DONT LET POLITICIANS POST. LOVE IT

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2021 @ 11:52pm

    Secondary Objective

    These people are reprehensible, but not stupid. It feels like this is to set groundwork for something else.

    Now, while the law will obviously be challenged and thrown out, it feels like they are TRYING to get Facebook and Twitter (et al) to refuse service to Texans/Floridians.

    After that, 2 things happen. Those getting a message that these firms are not going to allow people of their geography are goinf to scream bloody murder. Then, they'll do everything geoblocked users do... find an alternative, such as a VPN.

    Then, when Texans/Flordians start using Facebook/Twitter in their region against their ToS, they'll either feel coerced to block certain users (a lot more lawsuits), or a message will emerge about the evils of "law destroying VPNs".

    Messaging that will undoubtedly get snapped up by the Copyright protection racket and others from the Surveillance sectors.

    I may sound paranoid, but that seems like a set of reasonable steps that could happen. Especially if certain starting points can be relied on so readily to protect snowflakes.

    They are the small pebbles that cause a tsunami on the other side of the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Annonymouse, 10 Sep 2021 @ 9:55am

      Re: Secondary Objective

      To quote a certain fictional character

      It is to late for the pebbles to vote once the avalanche has started.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 12:19am

    House Bill 20 into law, which protects Texans from wrongful social media censorship

    [Hallucinates facts not in ecidence]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 5:54am

      Re:

      It's even funnier than that I'd say, more along the lines of 'hallucinates facts directly contradicted by the evidence' as by and large the people being moderated on social media are facing that due to valid reasons but the losers being kicked out simply refuse to admit it due to a mixture of cowardice and self-entitlement.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 12:47am

    Coming Around

    This is what you get when you do not support Free Speech if you are a writer for Tech Dirt or you are a social media monopoly: politicians trying to fix it.

    It needs fixing. You don't like how they are trying to fit it Free speech means all speech. There is no sucha thing as hate speech (as the Supreme Court correctly says) so that means all speech by all people should be on social media all the time.

    Don't want to do that? Thank you're snarky smart writing about content moderation and dissing conservatives who want free speech? What goes around comes around. At this point few care what politicians do to bring these totalitarian lunatics to heel.

    Change it or Lose it. Do it voluntarily or we gonna figure out how to make you allow American values back into social media and the town square.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sabroni, 10 Sep 2021 @ 1:04am

      Re: we gonna figure how to make you allow American values back

      Racism isn't purely an American value you know! We have plenty of idiots in Europe too!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 1:35am

        Re: Re: we gonna figure how to make you allow American values ba

        One thing I've noticed in these arguments - apart from having to put up with the occasional slaughter of innocents to keep hold of the toys that go bang, there's pretty much nothing that these guys claim as American values that aren't shared by other countries - and in many cases other countries are more free to enjoy them than they are. Even the morons - they're usually louder in the US, but not necessarily more of them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 1:32am

      Re: Coming Around

      The KKK and Aryan Brotherhood might be Americans with values, but I'm afraid you're going to face some opposition forcing them on to others.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:09am

        Re: Re: Coming Around

        The KKK and Aryan Brotherhood might be Americans with values, but I'm afraid you're going to face some opposition forcing them on to others.

        Thwarting that opposition is what HB20 is supposed to achieve. Aren't you paying attention?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2021 @ 2:47am

      Re: Coming Around

      All the constitution guarantees you is that the government will not stop you speaking or publishing your words. If other want to help you on a voluntary or contract basis they are free to do so, but they are not compelled to do so by the constitution. Ultimate all the constitution guarantees is that you can publish your own words at your own expense, and try to attract an audience for those words. It does not provide any means of compelling people to listen

      What you keep demanding as a free speech right is compelled speech, and I bet you would complain that your free speech rights were violated if you are thrown out for heckling, and not allowing the speaker at a meeting to speak.

      In summary, free speech means the government will not stop you speaking, but that does not means anybody else has to listen, or help you spread your words.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      techflaws (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 4:45am

      Re: Coming Around

      or we gonna figure out how to make you allow American values
      back into social media and the town square.

      Bring it on, cupcake.Tired of winning yet?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 5:51am

        It's a delightful self-own that the assholes being shown the door on social media platforms have been reduced to arguing that government mandated speech, in direct violation of both property rights and first amendment rights is now an 'american value'. Dictators and communist leaders throughout history would be proud.

        That aside though I know that much like Koby they'll never answer it would be interesting to know what specific 'american values' they think are being shown the door on social media.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:35am

          Re:

          That aside though I know that much like Koby they'll never answer it would be interesting to know what specific 'american values' they think are being shown the door on social media.

          I'm willing to guess they mean the "American" as in "Confederate States of America".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Tanner Andrews (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 7:58pm

            Re: Re:

            "American" as in "Confederate States of America"

            Not really. What was an amendment in the U.S. Constitution was actually embedded in the Confederate Constitution: freedom of speech was deemed a core value.

            Sure, these core values were mainly for white property owning males.

            I believe that, while there may be ``very fine people on both sides'', the general intent is to foster white supremacy and ``aryan'' purity. Obviously non-whites ought not vote; we see that being worked on in several states in the name of election security.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Samuel Abram (profile), 11 Sep 2021 @ 11:54am

              Re: Re: Re:

              What was an amendment in the U.S. Constitution was actually embedded in the Confederate Constitution: freedom of speech was deemed a core value.

              I'm aware of that. I've read the Confederate constitution. In fact, having read it at the time, I then became aware of the lies my history teacher told me about the Civil War being about "states rights" and it being really about slavery, since that's what the Confederate constitution had said (and didn't even consider black people as anything other than property at all, let alone 3/5 of a person).

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2021 @ 4:29pm

                'State's rights... to own slaves.'

                That boneheaded attempt to whitewash history and the War to Preserve Slavery(cribbed from Stephen I believe, a much more accurate name for that war) never ceases to be facepalm worthy.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2021 @ 7:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, it was about states' rights.

                Guess which right was very prominent in the Confederate Constitution?

                The right to own slaves. Specifically, black ones.

                Your history teacher was a Confederate and a white power supporter.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Samuel Abram (profile), 12 Sep 2021 @ 4:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Your history teacher was a Confederate and a white power supporter.

                  No he wasn't; he was teaching from a Confederate and white power curriculum (Texas makes the US History curricula. Go figure.). He was just doing his job.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2021 @ 6:02am

      Re: Coming Around

      Do it voluntarily or we gonna figure out how to make you allow American values back into social media and the town square.

      Sure, Jan.

      Be sure to live stream it on the same social media you're complaining about. That'll show us.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2021 @ 9:18pm

      Re:

      How's those horse dewormer injections coming along bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2021 @ 10:55pm

      Re: Coming Around

      Shhh honey, the adults are talking.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2021 @ 4:33am

      Re: Coming Around

      Do it voluntarily or we gonna figure out how to make you allow American values back into social media and the town square.

      Like on January 6?

      The Second Amendment doesn't mean you damn NeoNazis gets to have all the guns, you know.

      We know exactly HOW you're gonna force your anti-American values onto Democrat voters first, then the world. And I'm more than HAPPY to fight fire with fire.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2021 @ 7:22am

      Re: Coming Around

      Your Neonazi jackbooted butt already did.

      On Jan 6.

      The Second Amendment does not magically give you power over all Americans. And also arms the rest of the Americans.

      You really want to go there?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 8:16pm

    Gov. Abattoir claims this law bans the "censorship" of "Conservative Viewpoints."

    From other coverage on the law:

    During debate last week, Texas Democrats offered amendments that would explicitly allow social media platforms to take down posts related to Holocaust denial, domestic and international terrorism, and vaccine disinformation. Republicans succeeded in defeating all three."

    So Texas's Republican politicians have given us documented evidence of exactly what Republicans believe their "Conservative viewpoints" are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Sep 2021 @ 11:53pm

      No wonder they always try to dodge the question

      It was a well played move on the part of the democrats, forcing texas republicans to either throw their own voters under the bus by agreeing to the amendments or making clear that holocaust denial, pro-terrorism and anti-vaccine content are all considered 'conservative viewpoints' and whether or not the bill is struck down as the blatantly unconstitutional garbage that it is they were forced to be honest for once about what they really mean when they talk about 'conservative viewpoints' and to say it's not a good look is putting it mildly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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