Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely to sign into law a bill that would stop Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from censoring politicians such as Donald Trump.
One of the nation’s largest states is taking on Big Tech.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely to sign into law a bill that would prevent social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube from “deplatforming” politicians such as former President Donald Trump.
The bill was approved Thursday by the Republican-controlled state Legislature.
It would order social media companies to publish standards with detailed definitions of when someone would be censored or blocked and make companies subject to as much as $250,000 daily fines for deplatforming a Florida candidate. The bill would require a social media company to notify users within seven days that they could be censored, giving them time to correct posts.
Republican lawmakers in Florida said legislation is needed to curb the influence the nation’s leading social media companies have over the national conversation.
“What this bill is about is sending a loud message to Silicon Valley that they are not the absolute arbiters of truth,” state Rep. John Snyder, a Republican from the Port St. Lucie area, said Wednesday, according to NBC News.
“What this bill does is send a loud message that the Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected,” he said.
The legislation is likely to face industry opposition.
“This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host antisemitic, racist, and hateful content. Content moderation is crucial to an internet that is safe and valuable for families and Floridian small businesses, but this bill would undermine this important ecosystem,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of trade group NetChoice, said in a statement to USA TODAY. [ … ]