Politics / Technology

DeSantis Takes on Big Tech

AMAC Exclusive

Desantis

As a bipartisan group of legislators in Congress, including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Mike Lee, urge the Federal Trade Commission to press ahead with an anti-trust case against Facebook, the problems for the nation’s big tech giants must be just beginning. Thanks to an ambitious young governor, perhaps nowhere are those problems greater than in the state of Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) says he remains focused on his 2022 re-election, not a presidential run in 2024. But it doesn’t take a fortune teller to see that the first-term Governor may have his eyes set on a promotion.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis consistently frustrated the doomsday progressives who were half-hoping that open beaches would turn into post-apocalyptic hellscapes. Like President Trump, the Florida Governor’s no-nonsense approach even inspires a kind of “DeSantis derangement syndrome” in the mainstream media.

Now, DeSantis is picking another fight—this time with big tech.

After tough-on-tech legislation passed the Florida House 77-38 and the Florida Senate 23-17, DeSantis signed SB 7072, a bill aimed at some of the social media giants’ most controversial behavior. In the wake of legal setbacks for lawsuits directly aimed at concentration among Big Tech companies under federal antitrust law, Florida’s state approach may have a greater effect in the long run.

DeSantis has gotten much attention for the legislation, yet the particulars of the bill often get overlooked. A review of the particulars of the bill sheds light on its potential long-term impact.

Under the new law, a social media company “must apply censorship, deplatforming, and shadow banning standards in a consistent manner among its users” and, if a company is found to be in violation of federal and state antitrust statutes, the state will prohibit the company from contracting with any public entity in the state.

Florida will also offer extra protection against de-platforming political figures by imposing a fine of $250,000 per day for a social media company that de-platforms any candidate for statewide office in Florida.

In a statement, DeSantis argued that the bill will protect “real Floridians” from “Silicon Valley elites.” He compared big tech’s censorship with the “censorship and other tyrannical behavior” many in Florida experienced “firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela.”

Of course, not everyone sees the new anti-big tech law this way. Some have pointed out the bill’s internal inconsistency in exempting from enforcement a “company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex,” a clear carve-out for Orlando-based Disney.

The bill’s constitutionality is another point of contention. Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez emphasized that the bill is necessary to protect free speech in the “virtual public square” so that “information and ideas can flow freely” even if “you voice views that run contrary to [Big Tech’s] radical leftist narrative.”

But others have pointed out that the private companies have free speech and assembly rights themselves. Unsurprisingly, these corporations will make sure courts have an opportunity to sort out legitimate questions.

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at Netchoice, one of two big tech trade groups suing Florida over the law, argues that the bill “will only make it harder for conservatives to share their news and views online” because it creates a “new Fairness Doctrine” and “compels private businesses to host speech in a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”

But DeSantis and Florida Republicans argue that “social media platforms have morphed into the town square,” as Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls puts it. For free speech to survive in this modern age, he and DeSantis argued, the state can’t allow “secret algorithms, inconsistent standards, shadow banning, and de-platforming” to govern our public discourse.

In any event, one thing is already clear—DeSantis is on to something.

Conservatives have complained for years about selective enforcement by social media platforms. After all, Twitter removed President Trump supposedly to limit the “risk” of “incitement of violence,” yet the platform still hosts Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and an official page for North Korea’s murderous, totalitarian regime.

As Big Tech gets ready for a fight, DeSantis may be getting ready for an even bigger stage, running for the presidency. DeSantis has always been famously pro-Trump, but if the former president were to decide not to run, in a few years the Florida governor may be able to tell voters how he tamed Big Tech.

 

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Paul Russo
4 months ago

I think we’ve found our candidate for President in 2024, a strong conservative Republican with the leadership without the Ego problems required to save America.

Glee
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Russo

Not if he runs against Trump. That would be political suicide.

Ruth A Lance
3 months ago
Reply to  Glee

I think he knows that.

Denise Sirbono
4 months ago

It’s about time. Thanks

Harry
4 months ago

I can’t say for sure but I believe the democrats will fight this vigorously. Facebook is a huge supporter and money donator for the Democrats. As the old saying goes, “money talks, “bulls**t walks”. Too much corruption in our government and big corporations. Democrats are all about big business and Unions. They are no longer the party of the working class. They talk the talk but don’t walk the talk. Too many social programs and entitlements which in turn enslave people to the government. That’s communism 101. Wake up America.

stephen keefe
4 months ago
Reply to  Harry

The lawsuit that President trump just filed will hopefully spearhead the bias media grip on honest media and start the process of protecting free and honest speech. Communism has no place anywhere.. The supreme court must support this 1st amendment lawsuit.

Kim
4 months ago

I’m glad to read how Governor DeSantis is using legislation to rein in big tech. If the courts can force a bakery to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding against the religious beliefs of the “chosen” baker—or heavily penalize that company—then big tech should be held to the same principles regarding equality in how they operate.

(I have trouble, however, with a court demanding that a company provide services to anyone who asks for it, whether or not that company chooses to pursue the work. When I worked for myself, I turned down lots of business. No one sued me!)

Tina
4 months ago

PRESIDENT TRUMP IS ALWAYS WORKING FOR WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE. EVEN OUT OF OFFICE. LOVE THE MAN TOTALLY!

Chris
4 months ago

President Trump, give ’em holy hell, and with God’s speed, smack these Democrat tech scumbags into oblivion.

Chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Google, Twitter and Facebook need to be broken up….for manipulating
and undermining our elections, spreading misinformation while pretending
to be the arbiters of “truth” so which they most certainly where not
elected.

Ruth A Lance
3 months ago
Reply to  Chris

I agree.

Stephen Russell
4 months ago

Pres Trump just sued Big Tech Finally Hooray

Tina
4 months ago

I THINK MANY OF US KNOW WHO WE WILL BE VOTING FOR ONCE AGAIN COME 2024!

Kim
4 months ago

I wish big tech a long and miserable deposition.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago

I had a conversation just last night with an old buddy of mine from Florida… My friend Tim said how fortunate he was for having DeSantis as his governor & I couldn’t agree more!
Funny how things can turn, about ( 18 ) months ago I thought DeSantis was a low IQ kind of guy, boy was I wrong on that count!
The man is taking on Big Tech head on in Florida & he will NOT allow the likes of Twitter & Facebook to shut anybody down in his state…Not only did Twatter shutdown the President of the United States & other leaders of other nations, they seemingly got away with it & they continue this cancel you out behavior if they don’t agree with your opinions. The rest of the states need to get onboard with Governor DeSantis & sue the pants off these Marxist driven social media platforms. It is long overdue!
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Tina
4 months ago

THANK GOODNESS WE CAN ALL CHANGE OUR MINDS. I SO HOPE SOME DEMS WILL DO SO COME 2022 2024!

Helen
4 months ago

I agree Gov DeSantis has back bone. We need more men to stand together like he is doing

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