On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed a sweeping bill into law targeting Big Tech companies over their frequent censorship of conservative opinions and individuals, as reported by CNN.
At the signing ceremony, DeSantis referred to Silicon Valley, the central hub of most Big Tech companies, as a “council of censors” over their actions during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would say those lockdowns ruined millions of people’s lives all around this country. Wouldn’t it have been good to have a full debate on that in our public square?” DeSantis asked. “But that was not what Silicon Valley wanted to do.”
The bill dictates that Big Tech companies are forbidden from banning political candidates in the state of Florida. If they do, the platform will face hefty fines every single day that a candidate is banned. If a company bans a candidate for a local office, the fines will be as high as $25,000 per day. If the candidate in question is running for statewide office, the fines could reach $250,000 per day. In addition, the new law allows Floridians the power to sue a Big Tech company for de-platforming someone.
The new law is the first of its kind in the nation, although similar bills are being debated in the legislatures of Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Big Tech companies have been ramping up their mass bannings of right-wing and conservative individuals in recent years. After first banning media commentators and smaller-scale accounts, they moved towards banning political candidates in 2020. Chief among them were Laura Loomer, a journalist and political activist who ran as the Republican nominee for Florida’s 21st congressional district in 2020, but was banned by Twitter and other social media platforms.
Most egregiously, all the major Big Tech platforms banned President Donald Trump in January of 2021, while he was still the incumbent President, over false claims that he attempted to incite an insurrection during the mostly peaceful protests that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.