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Florida Gov. DeSantis launches counteroffensive against Big Tech meddling in elections

"The message is loud and clear: When it comes to elections in Florida, big tech should stay out of it," Gov. DeSantis said.

Updated: February 3, 2021 - 7:38am

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a Tuesday news conference discussed plans for the Sunshine State to pursue legislation pertaining to big tech companies.

"The message is loud and clear: When it comes to elections in Florida, big tech should stay out of it," Gov. DeSantis said. "We can't allow Floridans' privacy to be violated, their voices and even their livelihoods diminished and their elections interfered with."

Among the various moves that the governor and state lawmakers have planned is a fine for deplatforming political candidates during an election.

"Under our proposal if a technology company deplatforms a candidate for elected office in Florida during an election, a company will face a daily fine of $100,000 until the candidate's access to the platform is restored," he said. "Further, if a technology company promotes a candidate for office against another, the value of that free promotion must be recorded as a political campaign contribution enforced by the Florida Elections Commission," he said.

The governor, who previously served as a lawmaker in the U.S. House of Representatives, said that tech businesses will face fines if they utilize "content and user-related algorithms" to boost or depress access to material pertaining to a candidate or cause that is up for a vote.  

"Florida consumers deserve protection for their privacy," DeSantis said, noting that "with the help of our legislative partners we're gonna stand together in support of Floridians and put a stop to big tech's practice of preying on consumers."

He said that the companies "change the rules constantly based on...whatever they deem to be politically correct at any given point in time" and that they "are often changed without the knowledge of their users..."

One of the various planned moves will be to aim to block "platforms from rapidly changing these standards and applying them unequally against users." Florida leaders plan to make a requirement for there to be an option for people to opt out of algorithms that platforms employ "to steer content or in many cases suppress content from the view of other users," the governor indicated.