State moves to prevent Big Tech from censoring politicians

Big Tech can no longer pull down the posts of Florida politicians without facing a penalty.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 7072 into law Monday. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon and Apple now face daily $250,000 fines for each statewide political candidate removed from their platforms and $25,000 a day for other candidates.

“When they have the power to be able to silence you, you take it seriously,” he said.

“They are trying to send a message, both to Big Tech and to their supporters and the Republican Party,” said Aubrey Jewett, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.

“They perceive that Big Tech is unfairly coming after, prohibiting, banning Republicans and conservatives.”

The Internet Association, which represents all four of the companies targeted in the new law, calls it unconstitutional.

“This law is unconstitutional and will ultimately leave Floridians more exposed to bad actors online. It is also more about politics than prevention, as the bill arbitrarily exempts major mass media corporations as long as they are also in the theme park business,” said Robert Callahan, Internet Association’s senior vice president of State Government Affairs.

“I think this bill really is a good demonstration of how much the states just need to stay out of these issues in general,” said Corbin Barthold, Internet Policy counsel and director of Appellate Litigation at nonprofit TechFreedom.

He said get ready for a fight in court.

“America has always been a robust political system where politicians will play to what their constituents want and DeSantis is doing that, and to be honest, I don’t blame him for doing that, I just think it’s an incredibly misguided bill and one that’s likely doomed to fail.”

Democrats say the new law is a violation of the First Amendment’s ban on the government controlling a private company’s speech. There is a provision in the new law that exempts companies that own a theme park, like Disney and Comcast.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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