14 January 2021. The Western Journal: Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation into the content moderation polices of multiple Big Tech companies after President Donald Trump was permanently banned from Twitter last week.
Paxton’s office demanded Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon and Google provide information related to their censoring of speech as well as their termination of the conservative social media app Parler from their platforms.
“For years, these Big Tech companies have silenced voices in the social media sphere and shut down competing companies and platforms,” Paxton said in a news release on Thursday.
“It has only grown worse in recent months. And just last week, this discriminatory action included the unprecedented step of removing and blocking President Donald Trump from online media platforms.”
BREAKING: Today I launched an investigation into @Google @Facebook @Twitter @amazon & @Apple investigating their policies & practices regarding content moderation and for information related to Parler, a social media app terminated or blocked. https://t.co/yKjetiMGSX
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 14, 2021
Paxton criticized Twitter’s decision to ban Trump and suggested that the recent crackdown on conservative speech by Big Tech companies violates the First Amendment.
“First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive,” Paxton said.
“However, the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President of the United States and several leading voices not only chills free speech, it wholly silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies. Every American should be concerned about this large-scale silencing and the effects it will have on the future of free speech.”
Paxton expressed his intent to compel the corporations to produce documents outlining what their official content moderation policies are so the state may determine whether discrimination took place.
“The public deserves the truth about how these companies moderate and possibly eliminate speech they disagree with. I am hopeful that these companies will set aside partisan politics and cooperate with these [civil investigative demands] in order to get to the bottom of this contention and ensure a truly free online community consistent with the highest American ideals,” Paxton said.