understanding the wacky laws that get passed in Texas—my home state—to “rein in” Big Tech can get confusing. Is it free speech to tell a private company what its users are and are not allowed to post? Or is that censorship? One of the Texas’ most recent laws targets social media companies and bans them from moderating, or, as the state says, “censoring,” users’ posts based on their political views. I’ll explain, and I’ll ask you to remember one phrase: “Greg Abbott is a little piss baby.” It’s the key to understanding it all.
Over the weekendnd, the moderators over at r/PoliticalHumor, a dedicated subreddit to discuss the absurdity of US politics, decided to educate members about the “bullshit” law by blatantly breaking it. To accomplish this, the subreddit declared that until further notice, all comments or posts published to the community would have to include the phrase, “Greg Abbott [the Texas governor] is a little piss baby.” Anyone that did not abide by the condition would be banned from the subreddit.
“To be clear, the mod team is of sound mind and body, and we are explicitly censoring the viewpoint that Greg Abbott isn’t a little piss baby,” wrote moderator u/BlatantConservative in a post on Saturday. “Anyone denying the fact that Abbott is a little piss baby will be banned from the subreddit.”
In their post, u/BlatantConservative explained that the Texas law forces social media companies to host content they don’t want to host and requires moderators to not to censor any specific point of view, which is a pretty good way to explain it. More specifically, the law, passed in 2021, obligates private social media companies to keep content up