Texas’ HB 20, titled “Relating to complaint procedures and disclosure requirements for and censorship of users' expressions by social media platforms,” was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott last year. It was one of the myriad right-wing anti-democracy laws Republicans in the Lone Star state responded with, hoping to turn the tide of majority rule. While other moves led to librarians being fired for putting books on shelves and rolled back voting rights, HB 20 promised to force private social media companies to disseminate anything anyone wanted to say, ever—or face Big Government stepping in to control said platform.
Sounds sort of like fascism, right? It is. While conservatives say that the law will only affect the largest social media platforms—any that “functionally has more than 50 million active users in the United States in a calendar month”—the language surrounding what is “protected” is so vague and open-ended that it creates impossible standards for social media platforms to manage. Vox points out that because the Texas law applies to all “viewpoint discrimination, regardless of whether that viewpoint is political,” this means that a company like Twitter couldn’t ban a stalker or a historically inaccurate KKK bigot without also banning someone who isn’t a stalker or those who speak to the history of race in our country in any sober terms.
You would be hard-pressed to find a Constitutional scholar, lawyer, or person with a reading level above 6th grade who could logically and in good faith explain how this law isn’t a fundamental violation of First Amendment rights. It is the reason Sen. Mitch McConnell and the Heritage Foundation game plan has been to seed the courts with radical conservative judges throughout the country: in order to support the anti-Constitutional laws they want to put into effect.
A subreddit account has decided to do some masterclass trolling in order to test Gov. Greg Abbott with this horrendous law.
In a subreddit “PoliticalHumor,” they’ve added a comment thread called “We’re messing with Texas.” The moderators of this thread have one very clear practice of discrimination:
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. Anyone denying the fact that Abbott is a little piss baby will be banned from the subreddit.
In fact, the page offers up an easy-to-fill-out consumer protection link to the Texas Attorney General and subpoena fraidy-cat Ken Paxton, so you can complain that you have been discriminated against because you did not want to write about how Governor Greg Abbot is a little piss baby. Them’s the rules. You don’t need to hang out in their subreddit if you don’t like them, mind you. But if you do, remember this: Greg Abbott is a little piss baby. Here are a few examples of the posts:
One of the things I like the most about Greg Abbott is a little piss baby is that it's so true and yet so simple. Under his leadership Texas has become a state full of whiny little piss babies making up for huge guts and teeny peeners with big trucks, guns, racism, misogyny, and nutbag flags. The fact that Greg Abbott is a little piss baby is mirrored by much of the Texas population which is actually sad and deeply pathetic given how baselessly proud they are. I guess that'll happen though when your governor Greg Abbott is a little piss baby.
There was this controversial attempt at pushing the boundaries of the subreddit’s criteria.
I’m not entirely sure that Greg Abbott is a little piss baby. Seems like a big one.
Running right up against the line there! As TechDirt’s Mike Masnick explains, Reddit—like Discord, Github, and Wikipedia—is moderated by the various communities’ online users and not the company itself, like Facebook or Google. This is an interaction between a Trump-supporter lawyer and the founder of Wikipedia.
So far, there are at least 2.1k comments on the subreddit, with at least one mention of Greg Abbott being “a little piss baby.”
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