We’ve all seen it happen before our eyes. Follower counts on Twitter dropping by the thousands and, in some cases, tens of thousands. Accounts have been permanently banned as well. President Donald Trump is forever purged from Twitter. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has also been jettisoned. Twitter says it wasn’t coordinated. You’re never going to convince me of that. Trump was probably always slated for deletion from Twitter. It was just waiting for him to leave office, but it was less than coy about it. The January 6 riot that took place on Capitol Hill not only accelerated Twitter's plans but also gave cause for the platform to go after everyone else. It’s a free speech issue. It’s an issue centered on private business. Yes, these are private companies, but they’re also used for commerce, communications, and news sharing. They’re more like public utilities. And after these moves, yes — bring on the regulations. That’s a long debate, I know.
For now, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has decided to launch the first salvo, pretty much declaring all-out war on the social media giants for their censorship run amok. His message was clear: steer clear of trying to influence Floridian elections or face massive fines. If a candidate from the Sunshine State is banned during an election from a certain platform, that company faces a $100,000 per day fine until that candidate's access is restored (via Orlando Sentinel):
Citing discrimination against conservatives, Gov. Ron DeSantis and GOP legislative leaders said Tuesday they will back a bill to punish five Big Tech companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Twitter – they believe wield too much power over the “modern-day public square.”
If the companies violate the new rules, the legislation would allow users to more easily sue the companies, as well as empower Attorney General Ashley Moody to seek action against them under the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices law.
In addition, the bill would target Big Tech’s influence on elections. Companies that remove a candidate for office from their platform would receive $100,000 fines each day until the candidate’s access is restored.
“The message is loud and clear: When it comes to elections in Florida, Big Tech should stay out of it,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis has previously said Big Tech censorship of conservatives was his top legislative priority and cited the shutdown of Parler, an alternative to Twitter favored by conservatives, as particularly disturbing. Amazon and Apple ended access to the platform, which was shut down for a time after the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.
DeSantis was flanked by Lt. Gov. Jeannette Nunez and legislative leaders House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson, as well as the sponsors of the bills in each chamber, Rep. Blaise Ingoglia and Sen. Danny Burgess – an indication of the support the measure will have among Republicans.
There was some pushback from the press during DeSantis's presser announcing this legislation. One exchange was captured showing the governor citing the Hunter Biden example of the censorship that influenced the 2020 election. Almost 20 percent of voters who pulled the lever for Biden wouldn’t have done so if they had known about Joe, Hunter, and their lucrative business ventures selling access to government officials. The story was the real October surprise, but it was ignored by the news media. It was buried. Now, we know the story is true, that a federal investigation for tax fraud has been open on Hunter for more than a year and that Joe’s brother is also involved in this alleged web of corruption. Joe Biden is involved as well. Shocker, he lied about not knowing what his son does abroad. Joe knew exactly what Hunter was doing and was very involved in a failed China venture that was hashed out while he was still serving as vice president under President Barack Obama.
"You're trying to tell me if there was hacked information that could damage me, you wouldn't print it," said DeSantis. "You can whiz on my leg, but don’t tell me it’s raining."
The dirty details on the Bidens were revealed in emails obtained by The New York Post from Hunter’s own laptop which he left at a repair shop in Delaware in 2019. He never picked it up.
So, let’s see how this bill plays out. It may be largely symbolic, but the larger debate is one that we must have internally as a party and among the wider public.