Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed new laws to combat Big Tech censorship and the selling of private data and personal information.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday morning, he said, “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 expressed disapproval of Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend President Donald Trump’s account.
Following the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, Twitter suspended Trump “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram also took similar actions by restricting President Trump on their platforms.
“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,” DeSantis said. “Now these decisions are increasingly made by nameless, faceless boards of sensors.”
DeSantis also expressed concern about the algorithms used by Big Tech, which he believes allow them to “manipulate” news content and influence elections.
“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. “Floridians should have the privacy of their data and personal information protected, their ability to access and participate in online platforms protected, and their ability to participate in elections free from interference from Big Tech protected.”
The new regulations proposed by DeSantis include:
- Mandatory opt-outs from Big Tech’s content filters
- Fines of $100,000 per day for tech companies that suspend candidates for elected office in Florida
- Daily fines for any company that “uses their content and user-related algorithms to suppress or prioritize the access of any content related to a political candidate or cause on the ballot”
- Disclosure requirements enforced by Florida’s election authorities for tech companies that favor one candidate over another
- Power for the Florida attorney general to bring cases against tech companies that violate these conditions under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act
Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls said that legislation in Florida will target Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Apple, which he calls the “five families of darkness.”