Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill this week penalizing Big Tech companies that de-platform political candidates in the state and empowering individuals to sue those companies if they believe they were “unfairly censored.”
Under the new law, the Florida Election Commission can fine social media companies $250,000 per day if they suspend or ban any candidate running for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for candidates running for non-statewide office.
The legislation will take effect on July 1 and will require companies to publish their standards for removing users and content and give users a 30-day warning period before they are removed.
“When Big Tech censors enforce their rules inconsistently to discriminate in favor of the dominant ideology in Silicon Valley, they will be held accountable in the state of Florida, and all Floridians treated unfairly by big tech platforms will have the right to sue companies who violate this law,” DeSantis said during a press conference on Monday.
This law isn’t mean to just protect politicians, DeSantis added, it’s for “everyday Floridians” too.
DeSantis did note, however, that the law could benefit former president Donald Trump, who moved to Florida after the 2020 presidential election, during which he was booted from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms.
“I do think that’s another issue that has been brought to bear: When you de-platform the president of the United States but you let Ayatollah Khameini talk about killing Jews, that is off,” DeSantis explained.
Big Tech has been cracking down on conservative users, such as Trump, and conservative content it dislikes over the past few years.
This week Project Veritas reported that Facebook has been trying to secretly censor content that is skeptical of the coronavirus vaccines.
One whistleblower told Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe that Facebook uses classifiers in their algorithms to determine certain content that they consider to be “vaccine hesitant” without the user’s knowledge.
“They assign a score to these comments that’s called the VH score, the ‘vaccine hesitancy’ score,” the whistleblower said. “And then based on that score will demote or leave the comment alone depending on the content within the comment.”