The internet is an incredibly powerful tool that allows for anyone with access to send a message anywhere in the world, instantaneously. If we step back and truly think about it, it’s absolutely astounding.
There is a problem, however: The internet didn’t come of age with an understanding of how powerful it truly was. Instead, the internet was cultivated by a handful of private corporations who now happen to control a bulk of the traffic online. Given that they are private companies, this means that they can do whatever they please in regard to limiting or censoring those with whom they disagree, thus creating a sterile echo chamber wherein those with access to the backend of these apps are shaping the narrative of the world around us.
Concerns over the consolidation of online power are nothing new, but the governmental pushback is.
In the Sunshine State, Governor Ron DeSantis is ready to rumble.
In a 45-minute speech, the governor identified Big Tech companies as the leading threat to American democracy and freedom of expression today, and pledged that Florida Republicans would take action.
The new regulations announced by DeSantis include:
Mandatory opt-outs from big tech’s content filters, a solution to tech censorship first proposed by Breitbart News in 2018.
A private right of action for Floridian citizens against tech companies that violate this condition.
Fines of $100,000 per day levied on tech companies that suspend candidates for elected office in Florida from their platforms.
Daily fines for any tech company “that uses their content and user-related algorithms to suppress or prioritize the access of any content related to a political candidate or cause on the ballot.”
Greater transparency requirements.
Disclosure requirements enforced by Florida’s election authorities for tech companies that favor one candidate over another.
Power for the Florida attorney general to bring cases against tech companies that violate these conditions under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act.
DeSantis, like many Americans, fears that our governmental procedures could be impacted by the arbitrary choices of a few powerful people in Silicon Valley, and he no longer believes that he can sit idly by.
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