Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has boldly stepped into the ring with Big Tech, who he is calling “monopoly communications platforms.” He’s proposing fining them $100,000 a day for the deplatforming of any political candidate in his state.
Tuesday, DeSantis announced he would hold tech companies accountable over content moderation. The governor compared it to political manipulation and stated that there was bias against conservatives on these social media platforms.
“We think this is something that Floridians want protection from, and I think it will end up being a really good first step,” DeSantis said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“There has always been the question, ‘What do you do about this?’ A lot of us have thought there was something wrong for a long time but to sit back and hope it gets better, that clearly wasn’t going to work. So we’re leading and I think it will be good,” he added.
(Source: Fox News)
DeSantis outlined a number of items that he is considering. Aside from fining these Silicon Valley giants $100,000 a day if they deplatform a political candidate, he is also going after them if it appears they are actually promoting a political candidate… that will be classified as a campaign contribution.
He didn’t stop there. Individuals, as well as the Florida attorney general, will be allowed to sue these companies over censorship. If they violate their right to free speech, legal action will be forthcoming. DeSantis will also mandate that these companies explain exactly why someone is being banned or punished and how they violated their policies.
“It’s not just being banned from Twitter. As we’ve seen, these companies can collude,” DeSantis told Carlson. “They can deny you, if you’re a small business … payment processing, the ability to use email and text. So you go to a rally that they don’t like or you engage in wrongthink, and all of a sudden, your flower business is decapitated for a month because they take action.”
The governor’s moves will no doubt result in a face-off in the legislative session. But DeSantis says he is ready for the “big fight.”
“Hopefully, we can get a lot of support,” he stated. “Most folks do want protections for their privacy and data. Most folks want protections from being de-platformed. I think it will be very positively received, but we’re buckled up. We know there are always fights over these things, so stay tuned.”
.@GovRonDeSantis: "Under our proposal, if a technology company de-platforms a candidate for elected office in Florida during an election that company will face a daily fine of $100k until the candidate's access to the platform is restored." 3/ pic.twitter.com/jCceBB8zsk
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) February 2, 2021
DeSantis has routinely attacked the media and Big Tech for censorship and political manipulation. In a press conference, he referred to social media squelching the Hunter Biden email scandal that was broken by the New York Post using the excuse of ‘hacking’. DeSantis excoriated reporters on their double standards: “You’re trying to tell me if there was hacked information that could damage me, you wouldn’t print it? Give me a break. You can whiz on my leg, but don’t tell me it’s raining.”
According to the Herald-Tribune, DeSantis also said: “Big tech is beginning to look like ‘big brother’ with each passing day.”
DeSantis will be joined by others in Florida to take action against Big Tech. Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, will both reportedly push this in the Florida legislature with DeSantis in the lead. If successful, Florida could set a precedent for other states to follow against these companies.
Others are joining the fight in Florida as well. Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, filed a bill (SB 520) that will mandate that social media sites notify users within 30 days that they have been banned.
Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, has been tapped as the point person in the House to lead the social media fight.
There is also a movement afoot that would ban Florida governments from purchasing goods or services from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, or Alphabet in 2023 if they continue to deplatform individuals.
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