Big-Tech Censorship Bill Clears Second Committee

Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Legislation seeking to increase transparency in big-tech and to fight back against social media censorship is moving quickly through the Florida House after it cleared its second committee stop Monday.

Florida Republicans believe conservatives are being targeted by big-tech censorship, but Democrats argue the GOP-sponsored legislation is a response to former-President Donald Trump’s deplatforming from Twitter and Facebook.

“I think that everybody should, at least if we’re being intellectually honest, be able to agree that yeah, there is a double standard here,” said State Senator Danny Burgess.

Burgess is sponsoring legislation that would require social media companies to inform users why their accounts were blocked or disabled within 30 days.

“The notice is provided to the user no matter who they are or what they do and you know, just to let them know why,” said Burgess.

A similar bill in the House goes much further, requiring social media companies to publish standards for censoring users on their sites and apply them in a consistent manner.

It would also create a cause of action, allowing Floridians to sue if they feel they were wrongly banned and it imposes fines on companies that censor political candidates.

“This is a distraction bill,” said Representative Evan Jenne.

Jenne, a Democrat, believes the bill is a direct rebuttal to former President Donald Trump’s de-platforming.

“You know, ‘we are owning the libs’. If that’s your main policy thrust, the state’s in really bad shape moving forward,” said Jenne.

Theoretically, the legislation could apply to the former President, who is a Florida resident, but the Governor shied away from the possibility when we asked if he’d spoken with Trump about using the legislation to get back on social media.

“No I haven’t,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill would impose a $100,000 a day fine on social media platforms for deplatforming statewide candidates and a $10,000 a day fine for all other Florida candidates.

The bill has one more committee stop left in the House before a floor vote.

The Senate version of the bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

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