TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday meant to punish tech companies that are accused of policing conservative thought.
The legislation aims to stop social media companies from “deplatforming” political candidates. It’s an apparent nod to President Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook earlier this year.
“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,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez.
The bill gives the state’s election commission power to fine media companies up to $250,000 a day for “deplatforming” any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices.
It also gives Floridians the right to sue companies that violate the law, and win monetary damages, and lets Florida’s attorney general go after these companies.
“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,” the governor’s office said in a news release.
The Florida House voted 77-38 in favor of the bill, the Senate, 23-17.
“This bill is a retaliation for the former presidential administration being banned from social media sites by spreading false information, inciting riots, sedition, and violence,” Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat who sought to kill the legislation, said in April.
“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.”