In what may become the first law in the nation banning Big Tech censorship, Florida’s state legislature overwhelmingly voted to pass a bill that would outlaw social media companies from “deplatforming” political candidates.
Senate Bill 7072 titled “Social Media Platforms” passed last week in Florida’s House by a 77-38 vote and in the Senate with 23-17.
If signed into law, the bill would make it illegal and punishable by law for social media companies to remove or ban political candidates running for office in Florida.
Platforms would be subject to a fine of $250,000 per day for any candidate seeking public office who is permanently deplatformed. An additional $25,000 per day would be added if more candidates are removed.
Big Tech companies like Facebook and Twitter would also be required to give social media users seven days’ notice to correct issues if they are at risk of being banned, the New York Post reported.
Under the new law, two-week temporary suspensions would still be permissible without repercussions.
The bill has been met with opposition only from Democrats who say the law is intended to protect insurrectionists, according to NBC.
However, Republicans, like Florida state Rep. John Snyder, say this bill is to send a message to Silicon Valley that “they are not the absolute arbiters of truth.”
“The Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected,” Snyder contended.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has long been a free speech advocate and has staunchly opposed the massive uptick in Big Tech bias against conservative political candidates.
During remarks he gave to a group of supporters in South Florida in February, DeSantis called for decisive action against social media platforms who completely disregard the First Amendment.
“I’m committed to addressing what may be one of the most pervasive threats to American self-government in the 21st century,” DeSantis said, referring to what he calls the “Big Tech Cartel.”
DeSantis originally proposed a $100,000 fine on companies who deplatform political candidates, however the House more than doubled that amount to $250,000 as stated in the current version of the bill.
SB 7072 is headed to the Senate for either rejection or approval of the House’s latest amendments. If approved, DeSantis will be faced with signing the bill into law or vetoing it.