DeSantis targets big tech, but does the new law go too far?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Before the legislative session began, Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed to take on what he called “censorship by big tech” following its banning of former President Donald Trump following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th.

On Monday the governor signed into law new provisions that he says will do just that.

“We now have a situation in which some of these massive, massive companies in Silicon Valley are exerting a power over our population that has no precedent in American history,” said DeSantis just before he signed the bill (SB 7072) into law.

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The new law requires social media companies to post all terms of service as well as community standards and reasons for blocking users. The law also sets up fines for blocking political candidates while giving Florida residents the right to sue if they feels they’ve been targeted.

It also exempts any company that owns a theme park in Florida.

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“It shows just how far reaching this bill could be, it’s not just going to target big tech,” says Patrick Hedger of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.  “If you have companies that are not social media companies that are concerned about this bill it shows you the ripple effect and sends a terrible signal to investors who may be looking to come from places like New York and California that this is a red flag to investors that their rights may not be protected by Florida if you happen to question their politics.”

Hedger says the new law is blatantly unconstitutional, noting that free speech applies to citizens having their rights infringed on by the government, but that there is not constitutional right to a social media account from a private company.

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