It’s time to fight back. Florida governor Rick DeSantis signed a bill Monday that allows conservatives to take the fight to Silicon Valley if they are unfairly targeted and censored by large social media companies with too much power. The bill allows “any person to sue Big Tech companies for up to $100,000 in damages” for “deplatforming.”
“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,” DeSantis says. “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.”
“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,” DeSantis later tweeted. “Today, we level the playing field between celebrity and citizen on social media.”
So how does the law work? The Governor’s office explains:
“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.”
But that’s not all! The law empowers Florida’s Attorney General to “bring action against technology companies that violate this law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” and “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,” DeSantis says. “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.” This protects future elections from interference when Big Tech decides they don’t like a candidate.
This law will serve as a useful tool for conservatives to speak freely without large California-based companies deciding whether or not they, like the rest of us, deserve freedom of speech.