Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton believes that Elon Musk appears to want “freedom of speech to take control of the internet” and would welcome it if the Tesla CEO went ahead with his Twitter purchase.
Musk is locked in an ongoing legal battle with Twitter after backing out of a deal to buy the social media platform. The judge supervising the case suspended the proceedings on Thursday thereafter Musk suggested moving forward The original agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion.
“He appears to be a man who wants freedom of speech to prevail online,” Paxton told Fox News. “I welcome someone entering the market that will only allow people to speak freely and not try to restrict them based on their political or religious stances.”
“These are sacred rights and sacred ideas upon which our founders built this country,” Paxton added.
was the prosecutor He’s fighting his own legal battles Against the social media giants. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of Paxton on September 16 and lifted a ban on a Texas law that prohibits social media companies from blocking users’ posts based on their political leanings.
NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, whose members include Facebook, Twitter and Google, sued Texas after the legislation was passed. The plaintiffs argued that the law was unconstitutional and that it infringed their First Amendment rights to regulate content that appeared on their platforms.
But Paxton believes tech companies censoring posts are the violator.
“We’re talking about people’s ability to express their opinions,” he told Fox News. “If we don’t stop this, we will lose the ability to practically enjoy freedom of expression in this country…which means there are tremendous advantages for people with more liberal views than those with more conservative views.”
“So now the Fifth Circuit said, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you don’t have the ability to edit comments you don’t like or disagree with as a company,'” Paxton said.
The case centered on topics related to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The 1996 Act protects Internet companies from lawsuits related to content posted on their websites by third parties.
In other words, Facebook, for example, will be protected if a user posts defamatory or defamatory content.
“It was originally set up to allow them to be sort of like a bulletin board or a place where you can post information,” Paxton told Fox News. “They weren’t considered a publisher, so they weren’t responsible for what people put on those sites, and therefore, they can’t be sued for defamation or libel.”
But now, social media companies act as a publisher by censoring content – Conservative content — while still benefiting from legal protections, Paxton said.
“If they can squash free speech and viewpoints – conservative and Republican views – they can give Democrats a huge advantage across the country in all races, from local to presidential,” he told Fox News.
“They argue, first, that they are not publishers, and cannot be sued, but then they act in the role of the publisher,” Paxton continued. “So when these countries come in and try to regulate that, they argue both sides.”
Content moderation varies across social media platforms, but tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook censor posts they consider misinformation, hateful or encouraging violence. Paxton and other Republicans have argued this Conservative users and viewpoints It is disproportionately swept into the application of tech companies, even in cases that are subsequently reversed.
“Our argument is, if you’re going to benefit from the protections under Section 230, and claim you’re not a publisher, you can’t act like a publisher and discriminate against views,” Paxton said. “You shouldn’t then be allowed to protect yourself from defamation or slander because other publishers can’t do that.”
But as Paxton celebrates his victory in Texas, a conflicting ruling on a similar law in Florida points to the case Can go to the Supreme Court.
The Republican attorney general speculated that “these tech companies hiding under the NetChoice name, will appeal to the US Supreme Court and hope the court will agree to their position that they can get protection 230 – claiming that they are not publishers – and then also claiming that they are publishers when it comes to discriminating against views with which they disagree.
“I hope the Supreme Court will not agree with this argument,” he said.
Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.