Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed a law to fight Big Tech’s censorship of conservative voices and declared war on the communications monopoly controlling his state’s residents. The law specifically targets Big Tech corporations Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
During the press conference regarding the announcement, DeSantis stated, “What began as a group of upstart technology companies from the west coast, has since transformed into an industry of monopoly communications platforms that monitor, influence, and control the flow of information in our country and among our citizens.” He added, “These platforms have played an increasingly decisive role in elections and have negatively impacted Americans who descend from orthodoxies favored by the big tech cartel.”
Noting censorship no longer focuses solely on outspoken conservative candidates like former president Donald Trump, DeSantis noted the shutdown of Parler’s website by Amazon web servers, as well as the removal of the social network’s app from Apple and Google. In addition, tech companies have increasingly manipulated news feeds to remove or lessen the reach of certain content, while favoring other candidates.
Also important, DeSantis highlighted the law’s punishment: “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 $100,000 until the candidate’s access to the platform is restored.” The bill must first pass through the Florida state legislature.
Why is DeSantis taking action in Florida? He has previously stated he was prompted by President Trump’s indefinite ban from Twitter when he was the acting president. If Big Tech can silence the nation’s top leader while in office, media’s power has outgrown the power of government by the people and for the people.
A second reason DeSantis is acting is perhaps more concerning — the federal government continues to avoid a response. With Democrats now controlling Washington, Biden’s team is no longer speaking against censorship — they’re joining in. A close look at Biden’s team reveals numerous former employees from Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech companies that point to a straight-line connection from Silicon Valley’s censorship to the White House.
Out of the hundreds of members in the House and Senate, and 49 other governors, DeSantis stands out as one of the lone voices with the fortitude to speak out and act. Even those who support his legislation may be quieted by their own fears. In the 2020 race, Florida Republican Congressional candidate Laura Loomer, a self-described “proud Islamophobe,” pressed several social issues that resulted in bans from virtually every social media platform.
What would keep social media from banning the next conservative candidate from Florida? DeSantis realizes his efforts may even have personal consequences. He’ll be up for re-election in 2022. Several Democrats have already declared a run or considering one against the popular conservative governor.
Of course, this law is about more than just re-election. It’s about the future of free speech in America. Social media and Big Tech are now too big to be allowed to continue claiming they are private companies and then ban people they don’t like for political reasons. DeSantis is leading to make it happen. Hopefully, other states will follow in his footsteps to support free speech.