Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida, has directed state officials to investigate Facebook for alleged election interference, it was announced Monday.
The governor's action came after a report that Facebook possibly influenced numerous state and local races by exempting elite users from the social platform's own rules.
"It's no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently," DeSantis said in a statement released by his office. "If this new report is true, Facebook has violated Florida law to put its thumb on the scale of numerous state and local races."
The governor directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to head Florida's investigation.
"Floridians deserve to know how much this corporate titan has influenced our elections,” he said. "That is why I am directing Secretary Lee to use all legal means to uncover violations of Florida’s election laws.
"The thought of Facebook clandestinely manipulating elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic. We the people have the right to choose our representatives, whether or not Silicon Valley approves."
The Wall Street Journal on Sept. 13 reported it had obtained internal documents that revealed a double standard Facebook applied to its users. Select users are extended the freedom to disregard the platform's own community standards without the threat of enforcement action, WSJ said.
DeSantis' office said that if the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Facebook has created a privileged class of speakers and has empowered them to "manipulate elections with impunity."
"Even more disturbing, these elite users on Facebook’s 'whitelist' were allegedly selected by the tech giant behind closed doors," the release said.
"The selection process, scope, and real-world influence of the whitelist is concealed from the public and known only to Facebook. If true, this process may have provided a benefit to incumbent elected politicians over their challengers in state and local elections.”
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