Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking a bold stand against the Big Tech censorship of conservative voices online.
The Republican governor believes that the “most important legislative issue” in the coming year is confronting the power wielded by technology giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon when it comes to the free speech of conservatives online.
DeSantis spoke on the topic last week following the fallout over the shut down of Parler, a social media app that was seen as an alternative to Twitter. Amazon Web Services pulled the platform’s server as Google and Apple also announced they would no longer offer the application to users following the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
“We need to really think deeply about if we are a disfavored class based on our principles, based on having conservative views, based on being a Christian, based on whatever you can say that is not favored in Silicon Valley,” DeSantis said at Texas Public Policy Foundation event in Austin.
“I think it’s probably the most important legislative issue that we’re going to have to get right this year and next year,” he later told the conservative crowd.
The GOP governor and vocal supporter of President Donald Trump expressed his alarm over the tech companies’ treatment of Parler, and how many of them suspended or banned Trump’s accounts from their platforms, following the riot. But he also addressed the suppression of content and voices before the 2020 election, asserting that the censorship has to be confronted.
— Brian Phillips (@RealBPhil) January 14, 2021
“You have a situation where in the election I was very disturbed to see credible articles about Hunter Biden actively suppressed by these big tech oligarchs in a way that I think absolutely had an impact on the presidential election,” DeSantis said, referring to the October 2020 reports from the New York Post that were suppressed.
“That is election interference if you want to be honest about it and that’s something that really needs to be addressed,” he said, but added that the actions by tech giants in the last few weeks has been “really, really chilling.”
“Now, what Twitter did to the president, he’s the president of the United States, that’s obviously a big deal and I don’t want to minimize that, but I can tell you what really bothered me was how they decapitated this company Parler,” DeSantis said.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 18, 2021
“You have this, you’d always say, ‘Hey, it’s a market, you don’t like Twitter, create your own competitor.’ Well, they did that and then what happened when it came time, when Parler was gaining all these users—because people understood that Twitter was censoring conservative speech and basically siding with the incoming administration against the outgoing—people started taking their business there,” he continued.
“This was a coordinated assault on a company that was trying to compete,” the Republican said, adding that “if they can do that, that means the big tech oligarchy is in some ways, in many ways, more powerful than the government itself.”
“You’re serving as judge, jury, and executioner with no due process and you could effectively wipe someone’s livelihood right off the map. I mean, just think about someone that has a business where they use the internet, they sell things, and social media to advertise, and they have text messaging and email and all this stuff and then they were at a Trump rally six months ago and that upsets some woke staffers at Facebook or one of these tech companies and so then they say we’ve got to silence this person,” DeSantis said, essentially recounting what has unfolded over the last two weeks as Trump supporters have been targeted simply for backing the president.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 12, 2021
“That could totally ruin somebody’s existence and so what’s the due process for that?” DeSantis asked.
“So, I think that there needs to be protections for people, I don’t think we can have a couple of these far-left-wing tech oligarchs control the flow of information in our country,” he said.
“I’m not going to accept that and I don’t think any of you are going to accept that. So, we’re thinking through what we can do to provide people some protections,” he added.
DeSantis on the role of big tech: they’re serving as judge, jury, and executioner with no due process. #PO2021
— Texas Public Policy Foundation (@TPPF) January 14, 2021
“What’s to stop them in October of 2022, they coming into Texas and saying they don’t like one of the candidates, and they’re just going to deplatform them off everything,” he asked the audience at the legislative policy conference.
“What would the recourse be? I’m not sure there’s any recourse right now under law, even if there was, by the time you sued it wouldn’t be done, it wouldn’t make much of a difference and so, they have really opened I think Pandora’s Box on this,” he noted.
DeSantis vowed he will be taking action.
“So, we’re thinking very, very deeply about this. I think it’s probably the most important legislative issue that we’re going to have to get right this year and next year in Florida.”
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