The “Technology Transparency Act” bill, which among other things prohibits, under penalty of a fine, social networks from closing the accounts of electoral candidates, is advancing in the Florida Congress, where the Republicans have a majority in both chambers.
The proposal was pushed last February by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, shortly after former President Donald Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter.
According to the Republican governor’s office, the measure, which begins debate today in the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee, “would increase technology transparency in Florida, particularly as it relates to ‘Big Tech’ firms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple, Amazon and Google.”
The bill calls for significant regulations against social media giants, such as fines of up to $100,000 per day for social media companies that ban political candidates until the pages are restored.
It would also allow citizens or the state attorney general to sue tech giants for allegedly violating terms of service and allow users to opt out of controversial algorithms that tailor political and other content to a particular person.
In introducing his proposal last February, DeSantis noted that “when it comes to elections, big tech should not be in the business of censoring or removing candidates’ platforms, but rather voters should be able to make that decision independently.”
Proposal receives support in Florida
In a statement, the governor then added: “Floridians should be able to choose which content to consume and which to ignore, because I want to preserve Florida’s rich and diverse public discourse and not allow corporate-owned content management media to dominate our voices.”
The DeSantis-driven proposal was joined by Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson.
A poll conducted by political strategy consulting firm Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy recently found that 59% of Florida voters want the Legislature to move forward with this bill.
In the poll, commissioned by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 60% of voters said social networks should be required to clearly explain what content will result in a ban, while 56% want “Big Tech” to stop “arbitrarily censoring and removing users’ platforms,” as reported by Politico.
The poll was conducted this month among 625 registered voters in the state, with a margin of error of about four percentage points.
The “Transparency in Technology Act,” which protects free speech rights, has already been approved by some committees of the Republican-majority Florida House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote.