Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday designed to punish social media platforms for removing conservative ideas from their sites.
Florida’s Senate Bill 7072 will let the state fine large social media companies if they remove the accounts of state and local candidates. Private citizens and the Florida attorney general can sue Big Tech companies such as like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon for blocking their opinions.
“Some of these massive, massive companies in Silicon Valley are exerting a power over our population that really has no precedent in American history,” DeSantis said. “One of their major missions seems to be suppressing ideas.”
Under the new law, the state can fine social media companies $250,000 a day if they cut off an account of a statewide political candidate and $25,000 a day for someone running for a local office.
DeSantis pointed out that Big Tech has been regulating accounts and removing subject matter that doesn’t align with their leftist beliefs. He said the measure will protect the abilities of Floridians to speak and express their opinions.
“You know, what, when they have the power to be able to silence you, you take it seriously,” DeSantis said. “And so that’s what we’re doing here today. I think we will have more robust debate in the state of Florida as a result of the legislation that we’re signing today.”
During the bill-signing ceremony at Florida International University in Miami, the governor recalled how former President Donald Trump was banned by Twitter but the platform allowed Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to continue sharing antisemitic content.
“When you de-platform the president of the United States but you let Ayatollah Khamenei talk about killing Jews, that is wrong,” DeSantis declared.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, the former governor of Florida, said he “welcomes action on this at the state and federal level” and that he will advocate for future measures that hold “Big Tech” accountable.
And DeSantis noted that SB 7072 will safeguard Floridians’ ability to access online platforms while exposing tech giants and their agenda.
“If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable,” DeSantis concluded.
The measure, which goes into effect on July 1, is likely to be challenged in court. Democrats opposed the measure and even critics of Big Tech wonder if it’s constitutional.