Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took the fight to Big Tech tyrants today, signing SB 7072 into law. This will allow Floridians to sue Big Tech companies who treat them unfairly, whether through inappropriate censorship or a lack of transparency behind their deplatforming of individuals. It also gives the state Attorney General the power to go after Big Tech companies and prohibits them from deplatforming politicians or political candidates.
“Florida’s Big Tech Bill gives every Floridian the power to fight back against deplatforming and allows any person to sue Big Tech companies for up to $100,000 in damages. Today, we level the playing field between celebrity and citizen on social media,” he Tweeted.
Florida’s Big Tech Bill gives every Floridian the power to fight back against deplatforming and allows any person to sue Big Tech companies for up to $100,000 in damages. Today, we level the playing field between celebrity and citizen on social media. https://t.co/SOW6DZZT2K
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 24, 2021
Skeptics say this will run contrary to the Section 230 protections Big Tech companies possess, prompting the likelihood of appeals that could make their way to the Supreme Court. Of particular legal concern are the fines that would accumulate for deplatforming politicians and candidates. Does this mean someone like Laura Loomer can now file for reinstatement? We’ll see.
While this is a good step for Florida and could start a domino effect of other red states curtailing the dominance Big Tech companies have over the public square, there are those who believe it’s a stretch to tell private companies how they must operate.
(Editor’s Note: As adamant as I am about protecting the rights of private companies, Big Tech companies protected by Section 230 must adhere to it or lose their protections. This should not be a question of whether or not it’s right for these companies to be told how to operate. It’s a question of whether they want to be listed under Section 230 or not. If they censor legal speech arbitrarily, they shouldn’t be protected.)
Here’s his press conference:
Here’s the press release from his office:
MIAMI – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7072 to hold Big Tech accountable by driving transparency and safeguarding Floridians’ ability to access and participate in online platforms.
“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”
“What we’ve been seeing across the U.S. is an effort to silence, intimidate, and wipe out dissenting voices by the leftist media and big corporations. Today, by signing SB 7072 into law, Florida is taking back the virtual public square as a place where information and ideas can flow freely. Many of our constituents know the dangers of being silenced or have been silenced themselves under communist rule. Thankfully in Florida we have a Governor that fights against big tech oligarchs that contrive, manipulate, and censor if you voice views that run contrary to their radical leftist narrative,” Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said.
“I’m pleased to see Florida setting the example by doing everything in our power to stop the abuses that are possible when big tech goes unchecked. People have a right to express opposing views. This good bill protects candidates for elected office, media outlets and others from unfair and arbitrary discrimination on social media platforms. Thank you, Governor DeSantis and Speaker Sprowls, for your leadership on this important issue,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson.
“Social media platforms have morphed into the town square,” said Speaker Chris Sprowls. “If our democracy is going to survive, we must stand up to these technological oligarchs and hold them accountable. This legislation protects the free speech of Floridians and demands transparency. No more secret algorithms, inconsistent standards, shadow banning, and de-platforming. In Florida, sunshine is the best disinfectant – and it’s time we bring these big tech monopolies out of the dark. I applaud Governor Ron DeSantis, President Simpson, and the Senate for taking action while our federal government idly sits by and congratulate Commerce Chairman Blaise Ingoglia for carrying this in the House.”
“Big Tech has a responsibility to be fair and transparent to all of its users, regardless of our political ideology. Requiring Big Tech to define the behaviors that will lead to someone being de-platformed is a significant victory for free speech and I am grateful for our Governor’s leadership on this issue,” said Senator Ray Rodrigues.
“Day in and day out, our freedom of speech as conservatives is under attack by the “big tech” oligarchs in Silicon Valley. But in Florida, we said this egregious example of biased silencing will not be tolerated. It was an honor carrying this historic piece of legislation for Governor DeSantis to ensure our voices are heard as we safeguard free speech,” said Representative Blaise Ingoglia.
Under SB 7072:
- All Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms will have the right to sue companies that violate this law — and win monetary damages. This reform safeguards the rights of every Floridian by requiring social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies, which prevents Big Tech bureaucrats from “moving the goalposts” to silence viewpoints they don’t like.
- The Attorney General of Florida can bring action against technology companies that violate this law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If social media platforms are found to have violated antitrust law, they will be restricted from contracting with any public entity. That “antitrust violator” blacklist imposes real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line.
- Big Tech is prohibited from de-platforming Floridian political candidates. The Florida Election Commission will impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that de-platforms any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices. Any Floridian can block any candidate they don’t want to hear from, and that is a right that belongs to each citizen — it’s not for Big Tech companies to decide.
The full text of Senate Bill 7072 is available here.
Big Tech tyrants have flaunted their protections for too long with no repercussions for their clearly biased censorship practices. Kudos to Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for stepping up for the people.
YouTube, Spotify, and other Big Tech platforms are taking Freedom First Network down
It’s no secret we speak our minds and bring on guests who do the same. That’s one of the biggest reasons we put together the Freedom First Network in the first place. There are far too many news outlets, including so-called “conservative” media companies, who are so beholden to Big Tech that they temper their perspectives at best and outright coverup the truth at worst. Many, as you all know, will blatantly lie in order to maintain the narrative that supports the radical agenda taking over much of the United States.
We have had our YouTube channel taken down. Many of our shows have been suppressed or removed by Facebook and Twitter. Spotify banned one of our shows completely from their platform. Google hates us. We’ve even been censored by some of the smaller players like Medium, Transistor, and Captivate. But we stand behind our reporting and perspectives and we refuse to bow down to Big Tech tyranny for the sake of pageviews or video plays.
This isn’t the easiest road to travel, especially for a media company that is so new. We launched Freedom First Network in 2020 to fight against the very censorship that we’re seeing so widespread today. We have found great homes for our content on freer speech platforms like Rumble and we’re putting our best efforts forward into building our presence on Locals. Nevertheless, we cannot do it alone. We need help.
One of the things cofounders Jeff Dornik and JD Rucker agreed to from the start was to never be the pawns of companies that do not embrace our worldview. Finding advertisers and affiliates is easy; we receive requests by companies wanting to be pushed on our shows every day. But it’s important to us that we’re promoting companies, services, and products that are beneficial to maintaining a Freedom First stance in America. As a result, we do not take on sponsors easily. We would rather rely on our own products like Freedom First Coffee and the support of our wonderful viewers, listeners, and readers.
Those who want to support us and help keep the fight for America’s future moving forward can do so by donating through our Locals page. There, you can donate monthly or one-time. Some have told us to use Patreon or GoFundMe, but both of those platforms have demonstrated a hatred for free speech. Locals does not. They embrace it. We encourage everyone to join us on Locals, but donations are greatly appreciated as well. We do not have day jobs. Our fight for freedom is a full-time gig.
Please feel free to reach out to us through our contact form. It goes directly to our founders, so if you’re interested in getting involved, investing, sponsoring, or even bringing a show to our network, let us know. May God Bless the United States of America!