Experts say state censorship legislation can do more harm than good

Laws prohibiting large social media platforms from banning users’ political perspectives are facing proceedings.

Austin, Texas — A new Texas law banning major social media companies from banning users from a political perspective faces lawsuits from technology industry groups representing Facebook, Google’s YouTube, and Twitter. I am.

Disinformation expert Samuel Woolley, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Texas, said Houseville 20 could have harmful spillover effects.

“These companies can control your speech,” Woolley said. “They are private and must be treated that way. Otherwise, we can tell people and their business that they are certain political things in their business. There is a danger of entering a slippery slope that begins to say you can’t. ”

Netchoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association have filed proceedings to block the law, saying they and users will be vulnerable to harmful information.

“You can’t treat a social media company like a telco and say,’You can’t treat someone different because the politics of the phone is different,’ so you can’t do it with social media,” Woolley said. “Social media is a completely different ball game.”

Proponents of the Republican-led anti-censorship law said it would protect freedom of speech, but Woolley said it could increase the spread of false information.

“This false information that is widespread is about health, about health care, about elections, and is becoming more and more dangerous to people,” Woolley said. “In fact, research shows that false information and bad news travel online much faster than real and good news.”

Woolley also said it would be difficult to enforce.

“For example, the idea of ​​focusing on content that only appears in Texas and then on Texas political content doesn’t make much sense technically,” Woolley said. “The other is that many people on the Internet use what’s called a VPN. These are ways to block IP addresses, and you’re in Texas, but you’re shown to be there. Florida, it says you are in Nigeria. ”

The judge recently blocked a similar bill in Florida.

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Experts say state censorship legislation can do more harm than good

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