Justin Bullock, FISM News
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new bill on Monday limiting the capacity for censorship by big tech companies and social media platforms. The new law, known as SB 7072, prohibits social media companies from “willfully deplatforming a candidate for political office and allows the Florida Elections Commission to fine a social media platform $250,000 per day for deplatforming a candidate for statewide office and $25,000 per day for deplatforming any other candidate.”
The law also allows for new kinds of lawsuits against tech and social media companies by Florida citizens in instances of deplatforming. Florida is not alone in this effort to take on censorship by big tech and social media giants, joining Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah. Regulating the new Wild West that is the world wide web as well as its primary authorities found in big tech and social media, is a recent hot button issue facing the US.
While both Democrats and Republicans contend that more should be done to oversee the internet, specifically the companies that dominate it, how this should be accomplished is sharply debated. Republicans like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley have looked for ways to break up these big tech companies primarily through anti-trust legislation. Republicans in general have taken a strong stand against censorship by any internet platforms.
Republicans were largely outraged and concerned by Twitter’s recent actions to suspend former President Donald Trump’s infamous Twitter account from its website at the beginning of this year. Since then, concerns with censorship of conservative voices by companies like Twitter and Facebook have grown, with many Republicans leaving the platforms entirely and looking for replacements.
On the other hand, Democrats seem to be pushing in the opposite direction on big tech reform, seeking greater internet censorship. The left contends that these companies do not do enough to combat what they deem to be offensive and dangerous content on the web. Democrats believe that current law allows for too much immunity on the part of big tech and social media companies when offensive and dangerous content is posted. As a result, to the horror of most Republicans, some Democrats have called for an increased presence on the part of the government in overseeing and regulating the internet.