Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has become one of the first elected officials in the country to strike back against big tech companies and is proposing a crackdown on their censorship. Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Facebook have been on a censorship spree in recent days, and have even taken aim at The Daily Citizen.
Speaking at a press conference at the Florida State Capitol on Tuesday, Gov. DeSantis laid out several pieces of proposed legislation that he hopes the Republican-controlled state legislature will soon consider.
“Over the years… these platforms have changed from neutral platforms… to enforcers of preferred narratives,” Gov. DeSantis said. “Consequently, these platforms have played an increasingly decisive role in elections and have negatively impacted Americans who dissent from orthodoxies favored by the big tech cartel.”
“Big tech has come to look more like big brother with each passing day. But this is 2021, not 1984. And this is real life, not George Orwell’s fiction,” the governor added.
The governor’s proposals that will be considered in the current state legislative session include:
- Requiring notice and disclosure of changes to content standards and actions taken against a user for violating the standards.
- Preventing platforms from rapidly changing their standards and applying them unequally against users.
- Providing users with the option to opt-out of algorithms that are used to steer or suppress content from users.
- Empowering users and the Florida attorney general with the ability to take legal action against a tech company for violating the above proposals.
Additionally, the governor added three proposals he wants the state legislature to act on to protect Florida elections from the influence of big tech companies. These include:
- Fining a tech company $100,000 per day if it de-platforms a candidate for office during an election.
- If a tech company promotes one candidate for office against another, the value of that free promotion must be recorded as a political campaign contribution enforced by the Florida Elections Commission.
- If a tech company uses its algorithms to promote or suppress any content related to a candidate or ballot measure, the company will face daily fines.
“The message is clear,” Gov. DeSantis said. “When it comes to elections in Florida, big tech should stay out of it.
Taking questions from reporters, Gov. DeSantis also blasted big tech companies’ censorship of the Hunter Biden story right before the 2020 general election.
“Big tech put their thumb on the scale… What they said at the time was, ‘Oh, it’s a conspiracy or its based on hacked information.’ Are you kidding me? You’re trying to tell me if there was hacked information that could damage me, you guys wouldn’t print it? Give me a break. You can whiz on my leg, but don’t tell me it’s raining.”
Gov. DeSantis appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday to speak more about his planned legislation. Asked by Carlson who was opposed to the legislation, the governor said, “Stay tuned… This is going to be a big fight.”
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Photo from ERIC HASERT/TCPALM via Imagn Content Services, LLC/REUTERS