CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE


TITLE 6. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS


CHAPTER 143A. DISCOURSE ON SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS


Sec. 143A.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Censor" means to block, ban, remove, deplatform, demonetize, de-boost, restrict, deny equal access or visibility to, or otherwise discriminate against expression.

(2) "Expression" means any word, music, sound, still or moving image, number, or other perceivable communication.

(3) "Receive," with respect to an expression, means to read, hear, look at, access, or gain access to the expression.

(4) "Social media platform" has the meaning assigned by Section 120.001, Business & Commerce Code.

(5) "Unlawful expression" means an expression that is unlawful under the United States Constitution, federal law, the Texas Constitution, or the laws of this state, including expression that constitutes a tort under the laws of this state or the United States.

(6) "User" means a person who posts, uploads, transmits, shares, or otherwise publishes or receives expression, through a social media platform. The term includes a person who has a social media platform account that the social media platform has disabled or locked.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.002. CENSORSHIP PROHIBITED. (a) A social media platform may not censor a user, a user's expression, or a user's ability to receive the expression of another person based on:

(1) the viewpoint of the user or another person;

(2) the viewpoint represented in the user's expression or another person's expression; or

(3) a user's geographic location in this state or any part of this state.

(b) This section applies regardless of whether the viewpoint is expressed on a social media platform or through any other medium.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.003. WAIVER PROHIBITED. (a) A waiver or purported waiver of the protections provided by this chapter is void as unlawful and against public policy, and a court or arbitrator may not enforce or give effect to the waiver, including in an action brought under Section 143A.007, notwithstanding any contract or choice-of-law provision in a contract.

(b) The waiver prohibition described by Subsection (a) is a public-policy limitation on contractual and other waivers of the highest importance and interest to this state, and this state is exercising and enforcing this limitation to the full extent permitted by the United States Constitution and Texas Constitution.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.004. APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a) This chapter applies only to a user who:

(1) resides in this state;

(2) does business in this state; or

(3) shares or receives expression in this state.

(b) This chapter applies only to expression that is shared or received in this state.

(c) This chapter applies only to a social media platform that functionally has more than 50 million active users in the United States in a calendar month.

(d) This chapter applies to the maximum extent permitted by the United States Constitution and the laws of the United States but no further than the maximum extent permitted by the United States Constitution and the laws of the United States.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.005. LIMITATION ON EFFECT OF CHAPTER. This chapter does not subject a social media platform to damages or other legal remedies to the extent the social media platform is protected from those remedies under federal law.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.006. CONSTRUCTION OF CHAPTER. (a) This chapter does not prohibit a social media platform from censoring expression that:

(1) the social media platform is specifically authorized to censor by federal law;

(2) is the subject of a referral or request from an organization with the purpose of preventing the sexual exploitation of children and protecting survivors of sexual abuse from ongoing harassment;

(3) directly incites criminal activity or consists of specific threats of violence targeted against a person or group because of their race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, sex, or status as a peace officer or judge; or

(4) is unlawful expression.

(b) This chapter may not be construed to prohibit or restrict a social media platform from authorizing or facilitating a user's ability to censor specific expression on the user's platform or page at the request of that user.

(c) This chapter may not be construed to limit or expand intellectual property law.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.007. USER REMEDIES. (a) A user may bring an action against a social media platform that violates this chapter with respect to the user.

(b) If the user proves that the social media platform violated this chapter with respect to the user, the user is entitled to recover:

(1) declaratory relief under Chapter 37, including costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees under Section 37.009; and

(2) injunctive relief.

(c) If a social media platform fails to promptly comply with a court order in an action brought under this section, the court shall hold the social media platform in contempt and shall use all lawful measures to secure immediate compliance with the order, including daily penalties sufficient to secure immediate compliance.

(d) A user may bring an action under this section regardless of whether another court has enjoined the attorney general from enforcing this chapter or declared any provision of this chapter unconstitutional unless that court decision is binding on the court in which the action is brought.

(e) Nonmutual issue preclusion and nonmutual claim preclusion are not defenses to an action brought under this section.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.

Sec. 143A.008. ACTION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL. (a) Any person may notify the attorney general of a violation or potential violation of this chapter by a social media platform.

(b) The attorney general may bring an action to enjoin a violation or a potential violation of this chapter. If the injunction is granted, the attorney general may recover costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred in bringing the action and reasonable investigative costs incurred in relation to the action.

Added by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., 2nd C.S., Ch. 3 (H.B. 20), Sec. 7, eff. December 2, 2021.