A bill that would limit the ability of Big Tech platforms like Facebook and YouTube to ban political candidates passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday, and will head to the Senate floor.
SB 7072, which according to its summary is aimed at “prohibiting a social media platform from knowingly deplatforming a candidate,” along with establishing civil liability guidelines for companies that do deplatorm candidates, passed the Committee with a 10-9 vote.
“A social media platform may not knowingly deplatform a candidate,” the text of the bill says. “Upon a finding of a violation of this section by the Elections Commission, in addition to the remedies provided in ss. 106.265 and 106.27, the social media platform may be fined $100,000 per day for statewide candidates and $10,000 per day for other candidates.”
Its Florida House counterpart, HB 7013, which “creates cause of action against social media platform for unlawful practices related to censoring deplatforming or shadow banning,” and defines when such causes of action may be brought, is expected to be voted upon by the House Commerce Committee this week.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been angling to knee-cap the power of Big Tech companies, which have become known for censoring conservatives, since the legislation was introduced in February.
Former President Donald J. Trump has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, and Google-owned YouTube since early January, before he even left office.
YouTube may have exacerbated its own problems in the state last week, after it removed a video from DeSantis’ page, wherein he discussed the COVID-19 pandemic with a group of scientists. YouTube accused the governor and the scientists of breaking its misinformation policies around the viral pandemic, and said that the discussion “included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
DeSantis fired back.
“Google/YouTube has not been, throughout this pandemic, repositories of truth and scientific inquiry, but instead have acted as enforcers of a narrative, a Big Tech council of censors in service of the ruling elite,” he said.
“We’re not going to be silenced. We’re going to make sure that folks get to hear from some of the great experts in the country and also be able to actually hear what the data has revealed over the past year.”
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