DeSantis, Legislative Leaders Take Aim at Tech Firms

DeSantis, Legislative Leaders Take Aim at Tech Firms

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to set penalties and allow the state and members of the public to file lawsuits against five tech giants he says are imposing arbitrary, monopolistic rules mostly focused on the discourse of Republicans.

Arguing Facebook, Twitter, Google, Apple and Amazon control the narrative of online content through “nameless, faceless boards of censors,” DeSantis was joined Tuesday by House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson as he expressed concerns that the firms could disable or suspend a political candidate’s account in the runup to an election.

“They could potentially de-platform a candidate, suppress a message, and that is something that is OK? I don’t think so,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis’ ire is focused on Twitter’s removal of former President Donald Trump from its site and Amazon’s decision to drop the Parler app used by many conservatives. Both occurred after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

“They are not principled in this,” DeSantis said of Twitter’s action against Trump, who used the social-media platform as a main way to communicate. “They have so much garbage and filth on that platform all the time. They did not censor people when they are using those platforms or the rioting that occurred over the summer.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who was holding a separate news conference at the same time outside her Capitol office, agreed federal hearings are needed about the policies of big tech companies. But  Fried said the calls Tuesday from DeSantis and GOP legislative leaders were strictly political.

“They (the firms) have gotten too big, and we need to start looking at some of the laws in totality of them,” said Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat. “But I do believe that where the governor and the Republican leadership is today is more so as a knee-jerk reaction, and for politicking, and not for policy. And we need to be looking at the policy of big tech companies and monopolies in general.”

The legislation, announced by the Florida House Majority Office as the “Transparency in Technology Act,” was still being developed Tuesday.

DeSantis said one measure could be a $100,000-a-day fine for each day a candidate is removed from a platform. Another would require technology companies’ promotion of candidates to be recorded as campaign contributions with the state elections office, he said. Tech companies could also be prohibited from blocking or partially blocking posts by or about political candidates, a practice known as shadow banning.

DeSantis would also like to see the attorney general be able to bring actions against companies that advertise as an “open forum” and block users or fail to follow terms of service.

Part of the proposal would also include a measure (SB 520) by Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, that would require social-media websites to issue written explanations within 30 days when users’ accounts are suspended or disabled.

“They control our personal information, our photographs, videos, online relationships with our friends,” Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said. “Today, we’re announcing a proposal to make sure that these actors won’t go unchecked here in Florida anymore.”

Simpson, R-Trilby, said the companies are “targeting conservatives” in political censorship, but for any meaningful national change “we need Congress to act to put this into place.”

The effort announced Tuesday followed legislation (SB 810 and HB 439) filed by Republican lawmakers that would prohibit state agencies and local governments from contracting with Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet.

Backers of the bills hope DeSantis and the state Cabinet also will take up the big-tech issue, similar to when Airbnb was put on a state list of “scrutinized” companies in 2019. That came after Airbnb’s plan to eliminate about 200 listings in the West Bank, an area that is a major flash point in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Airbnb later decided against delisting the properties.

DeSantis said he wants to look at the proposal but isn’t sure the action would protect Floridians.

“I’m open to seeing what it would be,” DeSantis said. “But I don’t think that would markedly change the behavior of big tech. These are really big companies.”

17 Responses to "DeSantis, Legislative Leaders Take Aim at Tech Firms"

  1. @DeepStatePropagandist: You TDS is causing great damage to what is left of your obviously limited intellect… however, your NaziCrat communist leanings are quite present. As classic case of the NaziCrat motto, “You have a right to your own opinion, so long as it’s the same as ours”

    Some sound words of advice from the past… “If you don’t get help at Charter, please get help somewhere”… before your hurt yourself, or God forbid, others.

    … carry on Comrade

  2. Writing while impaired Deep State Provocateur and Jon?

    I just cannot come to any other conclusion to that mess I just wasted 2 minutes of my life on.

  3. @Hope – “Refusing service to people you don’t like is not a crime against humanity. You can’t just support freedom when it’s in your favor .”

    Great point! But being a conservative moron isn’t a *legally protected class*, like race, sex, or sexual orientation. That’s a big difference here. It *is* a crime to refuse service to people based on biological differences; but being a conservative, or inciting violence, or being a member of the KKK are qualitatively different than being black, gay, or a woman. It’s actually very simple to understand. Try to keep up!

    @Edward Lyle –

    “I think Dr. Seuss beat you to it on that whole moon made of cheese idea, or maybe it was Mother Goose.”

    The fact remains, I am being discriminated against because they are not publishing my content. Are you disagreeing with me that the Constitution clearly states twitter must host me, no matter what I say? It’s right there on the first page!

    “In any case, I hear Sandy Momo-Cortez could use a ghost writer for her new “science-based” white-paper on “We can land a man on the Sun… if we go at night.””

    That is hilarious, and might be the funniest conservative joke of the last decade. (Except for Trump being a conservative)

    Look, as a ‘conservative’, you presumably believe in limited government and free markets making the choices more efficiently than a political machine, right? (Right?!?!) To any intellectually honest observer, this hilariously ham-fisted attempt to have the government influence private businesses to act in accordance with political guidelines is a complete and total abdication of core conservative philosophy. I mean, it was obvious that there was no such thing as a principled conservative once the Trump train started and suddenly deficits were OK, adultery was OK, not having a platform was OK for crying out loud, but I do begin to wonder, is there any principle that a conservative won’t take a squat over these days if their feelings are being hurt?

  4. Hope. Refusing service to people you don’t like is not a crime against humanity. You can’t just support freedom when it’s in your favor .

  5. Hey, DeepStatePropagandist… I think Dr. Seuss beat you to it on that whole moon made of cheese idea, or maybe it was Mother Goose. In any case, I hear Sandy Momo-Cortez could use a ghost writer for her new “science-based” white-paper on “We can land a man on the Sun… if we go at night.”. You two are a perfect fit… 🙂

  6. You all should thank God everyday for the Governor you have. He truly works for his state and the people that voted for him and those that did not. He has,saved your state from ruin.
    I only wish he had a brother because we sure could use a new Governor here in Georgia.

  7. It’s expected there will be those that try to game the system if the legislative initiative becomes law in Florida. That scenario will be addressed by a Florida Judge.

  8. This is particularly good news for me, as Random House is refusing to publish the book I wrote about the moon being made of green cheese. I am being censored, and it is obviously my constitutional right to force them to publish my M == GC manifesto, and so I plan to collect my 100,000 dollars a day very soon!

    Thank you, Governor DeSantis for sticking to your small government roots, and letting the free market of ideas decide how companies run their business. This is a solution all conservatives can agree sticks to the principles of limited government interference in how a business operates.

  9. Gillum will never be able to rehabilitate himself regarding his Image to get back into the political arena. That door is closed.

    Let’s just pray that is able to rehabilitate himself regarding his other issues and wish him well.

  10. Gillum, wow what a bullet this state dodged with that fool. But, CNN, MSNBC, Soros funded legacy media including the Tallahassee Democrat are rehabilitating his image. He is now super protected because he is gay and black which means bullet proof. How is he earning a living?

  11. These are the real questions that need to be asked of these Treasonous Big Tech Puppets of the CCP, in honor of Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger.

    1. You can shut down the social media accounts of the President of the United States and others you disagree with… yet you won’t shut down the social media accounts of those who spew hatred toward and encourage violence against America and Americans; why is that?

    2. You can de-platform and/or use algorithms to suppress and censor websites of your political opponents or those you disagree with… yet you won’t de-platform and/or use algorithms to suppress and censor websites that propagate child pornography; why is that?

    3. You can track down and apprehend the sick freaks who ‘download” and share this vial crap… yet you don’t seem to be able to track down and apprehend the sick freaks who create and upload this vial crap; why is that?

    4. While you’re at it, ask Pelosi and Schumer why they push for Congressional actions to punish and imprison those they have political differences with, yet haven’t introduced one single piece of legislation to seek out, punish, and imprison the sick freaks who propagate child pornography; why is that?

    … or is all of this just rhetorical

  12. Since there are not enough Democrats in either the State House or Senate to stop this, the only way big tech can stop it, is thru generous donations to our Republican State Representatives and Senators.
    This should be fun to watch.
    And oh by the way thank you Governor for all you do and this little insignificant statement which follows – Florida is so lucky Andrew Gillum was not elected.

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