Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida called out the one-sided nature of Big Tech and the establishment media’s coverage of politicians by pointing to the suppression of stories about Joe and Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings last fall.
DeSantis’ remarks came during a Tuesday news conference announcing legislation and regulations that would punish Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google and Apple that deplatform or censor political candidates or interfere with political speech, The Federalist reported.
Concerning the Bidens, emails and text messages published by the New York Post in October indicated that both were to benefit greatly financially in a proposed sweetheart deal with a Chinese energy firm.
This revelation appeared to contradict claims by Joe Biden, then the Democratic presidential nominee, that he never talked to his son about, much less was involved in, his son’s overseas business dealings.
“The Hunter Biden story was true,” DeSantis said. “OK? We now know it was true. And the typical corporate media outlets, they just chose to ignore it. Obviously, they wanted to beat Trump. They had a view on the election. They didn’t want to give it any air.”
“So we rely on social media to go around that, not let corporate legacy media outlets control the discourse and let us speak,” the governor continued. “So you had the New York Post to run it and you couldn’t get any traction. You couldn’t get any reach on it because Big Tech put their thumb on the scale.”
Twitter blocked and Facebook throttled the sharing of stories about the Bidens’ business dealings, saying they violated policies about publishing hacked information.
DeSantis found this unbelievable.
“Are you kidding me? You’re trying to tell me if there was hacked information that could damage me, you guys wouldn’t print it? Give me a break. You can whiz on my leg, but don’t tell me it’s raining,” he told the assembled reporters.
“You guys would print it every single day if you could, and Big Tech would allow it to proliferate every single day, 24/7,” DeSantis said. “So it’s not being done on a principled basis.”
The governor contended that there is a double standard when it comes to what is allowed to be published on social media platforms.
DeSantis specifically mentioned Twitter’s permanent ban of then-President Donald Trump, purportedly “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” after the Capitol riot Jan. 6.
“What about the 88 million Americans who chose to follow Donald Trump? Sorry. Content moderators on Twitter pulled the plug,” the governor said.
His comments also appeared to reference Big Tech’s actions to shut down Parler, a social media platform favored by conservatives. Amazon Web Services removed Parler from its servers, and Apple and Google removed the Parler app from their respective stores, with all claiming the social media company failed to adequately police its platform for content that advocates violence or could lead to violence.
DeSantis recounted that when threats are made against him, they are only taken down when law enforcement reaches out to social media companies and requests it.
“They’re not monitoring any of that,” he said.
“The thumb is always on the scale in one direction,” DeSantis said, arguing that action is needed to protect individuals and political candidates against Big Tech censorship.
“Under our proposal,” the governor said, “if a technology company deplatforms a candidate for elected office in Florida during an election, that company will face a daily fine of $100,000 until the candidate’s access to the platform is restored.”
He added, “We need to bring some protection for folks. I really, really worry when you have a business owner that relies on some of these tools to do small business. If they engage in wrong think or they go to the wrong political event, then all of the sudden [Big Tech companies] can just act in concert and just take you off. You need to have protection against that.”
Republican lawmakers in Arizona have also introduced legislation that would strip social media platforms of the federal liability protections and financially penalize them if they engage in censoring political speech or deplatforming companies or individuals.
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