The proposed bill, which is still being drafted, asks the Florida Legislature to impose penalties for social media companies whose algorithms are perceived to favor one candidate over another.
(TNS) — On the same day former President
"We've seen the power of their censorship over individuals and organizations, including what I believe is clear viewpoint discrimination," said DeSantis as the
The proposed bill, which is still being drafted, asks the
Although the governor never mentioned the former president, who was banned by Facebook and Twitter after they said he used his accounts to incite violence and disseminate conspiracy theories about the election, the timing of the announcement coincided with the filing by Trump's lawyers in the pending impeachment trial in the
In a 14-page brief, lawyers
They also denied that Trump had incited the riot by disputing the election results or by exhorting his followers to action. By contrast, the
"The actions by the House make clear that in their opinion the 45th president does not enjoy the protections of liberty upon which this great nation was founded, where free speech, and indeed, free political speech form the backbone of all American liberties," the defense lawyers wrote.
DeSantis, whose allegiance to Trump began when the former president used his Twitter account to endorse DeSantis over his Republican primary rivals in the 2018 Florida election for governor, blasted "the big tech oligarchy" for being "more of a clear and present danger to the rights of free speech than the government itself."
He accused the social media companies of having a bias against conservatives because they didn't ban from their accounts the supporters of the
"They have so much garbage and filth on that platform, all the time," he said. "They did not censor people when they were using those platforms for the rioting that occurred over the summer, so their excuse doesn't hold water."
"What we're looking at is consistency and transparency," he said. "If you are going to de-platform somebody for inciteful speech or hate speech, then you need to de-platform all of it. What we're seeing is arbitrary decisions that are being made."
A committee bill
The proposal, which will be released as a committee bill by the
The proposal would also require companies to allow users to opt out of algorithms that tailor the content they see in their feeds, and the legislation would also allow Floridians and the state's attorney general to sue the companies for violating these provisions.
DeSantis argued that the proof of the social media companies' bias is the fact that the discredited
He said he has had threats against him on social media. "It only gets taken down if law enforcement tells them to do it," he said. "They're not moderating any of that. Their thumb's on the scale."
For more than five years, Trump had the ability to catch the world's attention with the push of a button. But after Twitter and Facebook banned him from the accounts, he lost access to 88 million Twitter followers, 35 million Facebook followers and the ability to use those platforms to elevate his supporters like DeSantis.
On Tuesday, DeSantis was asked if he agreed "with the president that the election was stolen from him and that there was widespread fraud." He didn't answer, and instead compared it to
"So here's what I would say," DeSantis said. "How many people tweeted in 2016, '17, '18, '19 and '20 that
DeSantis called allegations of Russian collusion with Trump "a conspiracy theory not based on fact" that was "amplified by social media for years." He did not mention that the
Big Tech's monopolies
The nation's social media giants have no major rivals, and the governor and legislative leaders made no mention of proposals to end the virtual monopoly status of Google,
"We've got to go back to the basics of: Did the big tech companies become too big? And that's a conversation that needs to be happening on the federal level," she said. "It's a disingenuous argument today from the governor and from Republican leadership that are taking this stance. If you want to go after the tech companies, because you feel it's un-American, because it doesn't allow for smaller businesses to get involved, that capitalism is stifled, then that's a conversation that we need to be having."
One issue the governor appeared reluctant to support is a call by Republican Rep.
The returns on Big Tech investments have been enormous, in the last year exceeding 30%, according to the
Ingoglia said he opposes the idea. "The very people that it hurts are the people investing in our pension funds," he said.
(c)2021 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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