A bill introduced by Republicans against Big Tech censorship is advancing in the Florida House of Representatives. The bill could lead to technology companies that violate users’ privacy or interfere with access to information during an election being sanctioned by the state.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the legislation backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is the first in a series of bills that seeks to prevent Big Tech from using its power to censor information and infringe on Floridians’ privacy.
The legislation will have another hearing before it can receive a vote and has not yet been scheduled for discussion in the Senate.
Florida and Big Tech: What is the bill about?
Under the new measure, technology companies that censor or block a candidate during an election will face a daily fine of $100,000 until access to the platform is restored.
Also, if one of the companies goes so far as to promote one candidate for free by favoring him or her over another, the value of that promotion will have to be registered as a political campaign contribution with the Florida Elections Commission.
The bill would also empower the state attorney general to take legal action against large technology companies under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act if they violate the new policies set forth in the bill.
Tech companies would have to give users in Florida advance notice of any rule change before closing an account. In addition, the regulations require that the rules be applied consistently and without exception. They must apply to everyone equally.
The legislation would require social media companies to inform users why their accounts were blocked or disabled within 30 days of adopting new rules.
The bill was introduced days after former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was suspended following the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
It should be remembered that companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple decided to censor Trump and his allies after the violent event. Faced with this, millions of users migrated to Parler in order to circumvent censorship; however, Big Tech was uncomfortable and preferred to cut off all access to this app.