There’s a trend spreading in state legislatures around the nation to combat Big Tech Censorship.
And it all started with “Loomer’s Law” that was originally proposed in the Florida House of Representatives by Florida GOP Chairman and Florida State Senator Joe Gruters in 2020. The original legislation was also strongly supported by FL State Representatives Anthony Sabatini and Randy Fine who attended the press conference where I spoke with Senator Gruters about the importance of combatting Big Tech censorship and Big Tech election interference.
There is no denying that the number one most important political issue in America at this moment in time is addressing cancel culture and Big Tech tyranny. Both during and after the 2020 elections, Americans got to experience first hand how dangerous Big Tech’s unchecked power has become with regards to the information we consume, and how our elections are carried out in the modern digital era.
Following the events that transpired in our nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2021, all of the major Big Tech social media companies joined forces in banning President Donald Trump, who at the time was a sitting US President, from having social media accounts. The de-platforming of the leader of the free world quickly sparked global outrage and raised serious concerns about the power these companies have. Many people quickly realized that if Big Tech could ban a sitting US President, they could ban anyone, including more elected officials, posing a threat to the vitally important concept of free and fair elections worldwide.
This is something I know all too well as the “Most Banned Woman in the World”, and the first De-platformed candidate in US history. When I first filed to run for US Congress in 2019, I became the first de-platformed candidate in US history, which created a debate regarding Big Tech election interference and the new argument surrounding social media companies giving illegal in-kind contributions to Democrat candidates and incumbents. This is a legal argument my campaign was able to pioneer alongside our FEC attorney Charlie Spies, and it has since inspired other elected officials and lawmakers, including Governor Ron DeSantis to address this issue on a state level and take action.
In 2020, I was fortunate to receive the endorsement and vote of President Donald J Trump, who is now a permanent resident of Florida’s 21st District where I have since filed to run for Congress a second time in 2022.
This February, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida, under his leadership, would be taking the charge against Big Tech censorship through proposed legislation in the form of a 21 page bill titled PCB COM 21-01, that he said would fine Big Tech companies $100,000 on a daily basis if they deplatformed Florida candidates and interfered with elections in Florida. While speaking on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, Governor DeSantis also said the legislation would crack down on violations of the privacy rights of Floridians and would allow for Floridians to file civil suits against Big Tech companies. As a Florida resident and business owner, I have already filed two lawsuits in the state of Florida against CAIR, Twitter, and Facebook. I also have an anti-Trust lawsuit against Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple that is currently up for review in the United States Supreme Court. The lawsuit argues these companies have been practicing anti-competitive and discriminatory actions against conservatives online.
At first glance, or for people who watched Governor DeSantis talk about his proposed legislation on Tucker Carlson’s show, it might seem like a solution for deplatformed and censored candidates like myself. However, a closer examination of the legislation shows that it will do little to nothing in its current form to hold Big Tech accountable for censoring political candidates and interfering in elections.
The reality is, bill PCB COM 21-01 has MAJOR issues, and given that this legislation is in the works to be replicated by other states in the nation, including Texas, it’s crucial that we get it right so that it’s not an empty bill.
PCB COM 21-01 needs major modifications and here’s some of the flaws I’ve found:
The legislation proposes fining social media companies $100,000 a day if they de-platform a statewide candidate (Governor or Senator). For all other candidates for public office, including congressional candidates, the fine is $10,000 a day.
That’s CHUMP CHANGE to Facebook, Twitter and Google.
When I ran for Congress in Florida’s 21st Congressional District in 2019-2020 on August 2, 2019, each company would have been fined $4,600,000 for censoring my campaign for the duration of my campaign, which was 460 days (August 2, 2019, – November 3, 2020) if we applied the $10,000 fine for “other candidates” that is listed in this legislation.
Sounds like a lot of money, right? To Facebook it would account for .006% of their 2020 revenue. For Google it would be a measly .002% of their revenue last year.
Paying a minor fine to prevent a candidate or candidates they don’t like from winning an election is a steal of a deal, especially because Republican candidates like myself, and Governors like Ron Desantis, the most popular Governor in America, have been most vocal about holding Big Tech accountable. President Donald Trump who is now completely deplatformed himself has also been vocal about the dangers of Big Tech.
In its current form, the wording of this legislation would make things worse for censored candidates, because it would give Big Tech an easy way to interfere with an election with minimal consequences in the form of small fines.
If the legislation is to ensure that Big Tech is discouraged from interfering in our elections in Florida, and nationwide, then the fine needs to substantially increase to 100 million dollars a day for all candidates to really make a dent.
After all, that’s the whole point of punitive damages. It’s supposed to hurt the offender’s pocket book to make sure the offense is never repeated again.
When you do the math after increasing the fine to 100 million dollars a day, if one of the Big Tech Tyrants decides to ban just TWO candidates, they’ll cover Florida’s entire budget for a year!
As it stands, I am currently the only deplatformed candidate in the state of Florida and in the entire country, I was the first deplatformed federal candidate in US history, and I am still the only deplatformed candidate running for Congress in Florida in 2022. The legislation in its current form would not protect my campaign from Big Tech censorship, nor would it protect President Donald Trump if he decides to run again in 2024, since he would also be a deplatformed candidate who is a Florida resident.
President Donald Trump and I will only be able to benefit from Governor Desantis’s proposed Big Tech legislation if it’s corrected to provide protection for people who were deplatformed prior to becoming candidates and prior to the legislation passing. Donald Trump and I are both Palm Beach, FL residents and voters, and we both voted for each other in 2020 given that he was my candidate for President and I was his and still am his congressional candidate for Florida 21, his home district.
NO PROTECTION FOR PROTECTED SPEECH
The Florida bill would require social media platforms to “apply censorship, deplatforming, and shadow banning standards in a consistent manner among its users.”
Sounds nice and all, but Zuckerberg and Dorsey read that as “Sweet! I can consistently ban conservative speech among all of my little users!”
The language in the bill currently provides NO guaranteed protection and needs to allow for all free, LEGAL, Constitutionally-protected speech. It’s that easy.
Another glaring flaw with the bill is that the proposed bill ONLY applies to the main social media companies i.e Facebook and Twitter, and fails to address other forms of tech, telecommunications and banking censorship.
I, and countless other Americans have been banned by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Paypal, Venmo, GoFundMe, Uber, Uber Eats, Lyft, and other payment processors and banks. Even Xfinity Comcast censored me and my congressional campaign while they made donations to my Democrat opponent, Lois Frankel (D-FL) who is one of only 32 members of Congress who owns stock in Comcast!
The alternative platform Parler was banned by Amazon’s hosting service while Project Veritas was recently banned by the data platform Salesforce.
Republican donor and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was banned from selling his products in retail stores, and Twitter permanently banned his personal and business account three days after he gave an interview to Axios in which he discussed a possible run for Govenror of Minnesota.
(PCB COM 21-01) has to apply to ALL companies and end discrimination based upon political speech. And that’s just the start.
While speaking at CPAC in Orlando, FL, Governor DeSantis said,
“When our legislature convenes next month, it will pass and I will sign, the most ambitious reforms yet proposed for combatting political censorship and deplatforming, for preventing big tech from interfering in our elections and for safeguarding the privacy of your personal data.”
While his intentions are admirable, there’s a host of fixable issues, such as the bill’s failure to address candidates and future candidates who have already been deplatformed like myself and President Trump. We would not be protected from Big Tech Censorship by this legislation given that the current wording of the legislation says Big tech *may* be punished if they deplatform a candidate. That means the candidate would have to already have social media while they are a candidate for the possible punishment to be applied. The words *may* and *will* are not the same. By using the word *may* when outlining possible punishments for Big Tech, it provides a semantic loophole.
Thus, the bill needs to have a retroactive protection for candidates who have been previously banned prior to running for office to ensure that all candidates in FL, and wherever this legislation may be replicated nationwide, have equal access to social media.
The bill also doesn’t cover punishments for Big Tech if they censor elected officials who rely on social platforms to communicate directly to their constituents. What’s to stop Big Tech from censoring Governor DeSantis when he’s not a candidate and simply an elected official? The wording of the legislation does nothing to protect current office holders from being deplatformed.
The legislation focuses on candidates, but needs to be extended to elected officials as well to ensure Big Tech can’t deplatform the people’s chosen, elected representatives. Big Tech needs to face severe and devastating financial penalties so that they can’t apply their terms of service depending on who they like and dislike the way they did to President Trump when they banned him as a sitting US President when he was no longer a candidate for office.
While I applaud FL state legislators for taking action against Cancel Culture, the bill has been written by people who don’t fully understand the depths and severity of the censorship problem. It extends far greater beyond social media.
They haven’t lived life while deplatformed.
• They haven’t missed orders to evacuate during Hurricane Dorian because they don’t have access to Twitter or Facebook (where most government agencies and Governor DeSantis now make their announcements).
• They haven’t been locked down during the COVID pandemic while the grocery shelves are bare and not been able to order a simple sandwich from UberEats or get emergency updates from the CDC, the FL Health Department and President Trump on Twitter.
• They haven’t felt the panic of trying to checkout and pay a bill only to find out their Chase bank account has been shut down, their debit card deactivated, and their funds frozen simply because of their political speech.
.•They haven’t seen their company revenue immediately plummet to ZERO after losing access to social media and PayPal.
.• They haven’t been stripped of their Second Amendment rights and federally prohibited from owning or purchasing a legal firearm due to their conservative political views.
And what has happened to me CAN and WILL happen to YOU, and other candidates and US citizens if this isn’t addressed immediately and corrected in the next draft of (PCB COM 21-01) before the 2021 FL legislative session is over in a few weeks.
I know how far the Big Tech Tyrants have gone and how far they will go to maintain control over our minds and our lives.
The proposed bill PCB COM 21-01 is the first shot in a national battle to address Big Tech Censorship, and I’d like to help get it right.
But in order to do that, we have to make sure the bill is loophole-free so that Big Tech can’t find backdoor ways to continue censoring political speech and interfering in our free elections – with few consequences.
Until Section 230 is completely repealed on a federal level, we need to make sure Big Tech Tyrants FEEL THE PAIN on the state level when they violate our right to Free Speech and our civil rights under what will soon be Florida Law.
You can read the flawed 21 page bill here:
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