Governors Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida and Greg Abbott (R) are both being considered as potential presidential candidates in 2024 in part due to their strong stances against Big Tech social media’s manipulations of Freedom of Speech.
On Sunday, Abbott tweeted Texas is actively working to prevent social media companies from moderating user content based on their political viewpoints.
Florida is moving to pass legislation that would penalize these companies that de-platform candidates during an election.
Their proposed law would fine companies $100,000 a day until the candidate’s access to the platform is restored. They will also require companies who promote a candidate to record their endorsements as political campaign contributions at the state’s election commission.
“We are working with Sen. [Bryan] Hughes on legislation to prevent social media providers like Facebook & Twitter from cancelling conservative speech,” Abbott said.
More states are moving forward to protect the free flow of speech and prevent Big Tech companies from using their monopoly to police speech that they do not agree with. These companies have repeatedly been scrutinized for their perceived political bias and alleged unbalanced moderation of users’ content. Critics say much of the companies’ moderation in the past year has focused on conservative speech and speech from individuals deemed supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Hughes days that the bill he and Abbott intend to introduce will address any unbalanced moderation of user accounts by social media companies like Twitter and Facebook.
“Federal law does allow us to regulate these companies and so the bill we’re getting ready to file will say that if a company discriminates against you, if the platforms blocks or kicks you off based on your viewpoint, based on your politics or religion based on viewpoint discrimination, it will give you a way to get back online,” Hughes said.
In December, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google. He now says Texas will take further steps to address the Big Tech censorship.
“I am so encouraged with what he’s doing in Florida. Thank you Gov. DeSantis for doing that,” Paxton told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. “We have already started. We have a lawsuit against Google that focuses some of the very issues about their dominance, about how they abuse consumers, about how they take their private information, they don’t pay these consumers and they then use that information to make billions of dollars without the consumer really knowing how their private information is going to be used.”
“So yes, I think you’re going to see more from my state in the coming months and coming years because if we don’t do something now, it’s maybe too late and these companies will have such dominance and so much money,” he confirmed.
Paxton played a leading role in filing that multi-state lawsuit against Google, alleging that the technology giant had violated multiple federal and state antitrust and consumer protection laws. The lawsuit accused Google of engaging in false, misleading, and deceptive acts while the company was selling, buying, and auctioning online-display ads.
The Trump Justice Department repeatedly urged Congress to roll back liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for companies that have engaged in censoring or political conduct. They revealed the companies were acting as publishers rather than online platforms when they engage in targeted moderation of user content. Protections under section 230 is not intended to be used to protect publishers.