Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday proposed a law that would combat big tech's "censorship" of right-wing political candidates and blasted the "monopoly of communications platforms" that "monitor and control" Floridians.
The legislation will target Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Apple, according to Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls.
"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," DeSantis said during a press conference at the State Capitol in Tallahassee.
"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," he added.
Citing former President Donald Trump's removal from Twitter in his final days in office and restrictions on social media app Parler, DeSantis said Big Tech has been allowed to "manipulate" news content and design algorithms that favor their candidates of choice.
"That's why in Florida we're gonna take aim at those companies and pull back the veil and make sure those guys don't continue to find loopholes and grey areas to live above the law," DeSantis said. "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, if passed, would prevent platforms from rapidly changing standards, allow people to opt out of content algorithms, create a "cause of action" pathway for legal action and fine tech companies $100,000 daily for "deplatforming" political candidates.
"Used to be that consumers were trusted to make their own decisions about what information to consume, about which leaders to ‘follow,' about what news to watch," said DeSantis. "Now those decisions are increasingly made by nameless, faceless boards of sensors."
DeSantis' press conference comes a week after two Florida GOP lawmakers filed bills that would prohibit the state and local governments from doing business with Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and its parent company, Alphabet, starting July 1.
"What prompted me to draft this legislation was the lifetime ban of the president of the United States — the duly elected and non-removed president of the United States — forever, including after he was a private citizen, coupled with the sudden shutdown of competitors of companies by their fellow Big Tech companies," state Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, told the Orlando Sentinel.
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