Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) did not mince his words against the leftist Silicon Valley giants and the onslaught of free speech in response to the Supreme Court agreeing to hear a case involving a 2021 Florida anti-censorship law.
DeSantis blasted Big Tech platforms' role in blocking information from the American public during an interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday on Oct. 8. “We have to grapple with the fact that these Big Tech companies colluded with the federal government to stifle dissent on COVID,” DeSantis said. “If you put up an article in COVID in March of 2020 saying COVID came from the Wuhan Lab, they would take it down and censor it. If you criticized lockdowns, they would take it down. They censored the Hunter Biden laptop story at the behest of the federal government.”
Indeed, MRC Free Speech America exclusively unveiled over 800 instances of COVID-19-related censorship in 2022.
DeSantis’s remarks came in response to Bream’s questions about reports that the Supreme Court will determine whether Florida’s 2021 law that protects free speech violates Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In 2021, DeSantis signed the law which effectively punished social media companies with daily fines of $250,000 in the event they censor political candidates.
The bill, the first of its kind, was later blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. “I think the Supreme Court needs to resolve this,” DeSantis said of the lawsuits filed by Big Tech advocates NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association. “We knew this was going to go to the Supreme Court. I said it when I signed the bill. This was a case of first impression. Texas was upheld in the Fifth Circuit, ours was not in the 11th. The Supreme Court will resolve it.”
Notably, the Florida legislature approved the bill on the heels of Big Tech’s de-platforming of then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. “They have to apply those rules evenly and what the social media companies have been doing is they've been disfavoring conservative voices,” DeSantis warned.
The Florida governor drew attention to the federal government’s coercion of Big Tech to violate the First Amendment. “The federal government cannot subcontract violations of the First Amendment to private companies,” DeSantis continued. He added, “You can’t do indirectly what the Constitution forbids you to do directly.”
DeSantis's slap down of Big Tech did not stop there. “If you want to start a private company and you want to be a publisher, you have the right to publish what you want or not want,” he declared. “These are companies that are getting benefits from the government to protect them from liability, and they’re turning around and working with the government.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.