DeSantis Signs Law Allowing People to Sue 'Big Tech' for 'Deplatforming' Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, flanked by local state delegation members inside Florida International University's MARC building in Miami on Monday, May 24, 2021. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP)
By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 24 May 2021 01:53 PM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, on Monday signed a bill that 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 said in a statement. "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."
He tweeted on Monday: "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. Today, we level the playing field between celebrity and citizen on social media."
The governor’s office said that under the law, "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."
It will also allow the state’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."
The governor’s office also noted that "Big Tech is prohibited from de-platforming Floridian political candidates," and that "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."
Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said in a statement that "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. Many of our constituents know the dangers of being silenced or have been silenced themselves under communist rule. Thankfully in Florida we have a Governor that fights against big tech oligarchs that contrive, manipulate, and censor if you voice views that run contrary to their radical leftist narrative."