MIAMI, Florida, May 25, 2021, (LifeSiteNews) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has taken yet another step in his fight against Big Tech censorship by signing a bill yesterday that greatly advances the rights of Floridians regarding social media companies. Residents are now enabled to sue the companies if they are treated unfairly, and the law also preventins censorship of politicians.
DeSantis signed the bill, known as SB 7072, into law at a press conference held at Florida International University on the morning of May 24. It will go into effect on July 1, 2021.
Announcing the bill, which is the first of its kind, he stated that it would ensure protection from social media censorship to those living in the state of Florida.
“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites. Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”
The bill itself is a warning shot to any social media companies looking to practice censorship in the state. Noting that social media has become the “new public town square,” and as such hold a “unique place in preserving first amendment protections,” the bill accused social media platforms of having “unfairly censored, shadow banned, deplatformed, and applied post-prioritization algorithms to Floridians.”
As a result, Floridians will now have the right to sue Big Tech or social media companies, seeking monetary damages up to $100,000, if the companies violate the new law and enforce unfair censorship, shadow banning or deplatforming the user. Nor are social media companies able to ban users without warning, as they must now give a seven-day heads-up before a potential ban, explaining the reason underlying, and offering the chance to resolve the issue.
In addition, under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Florida’s Attorney General will be able to pursue tech companies that violate the law. Should malpractice be proven, then the company will be placed on an “antitrust violator vendor list,” and will be prohibited from any involvement with a public entity.
A key component of bill SB 7072 is the terms it lays down with regard to social media censorship of politicians. Under the bill, it is now illegal for Big Tech to ban political candidates.
A fine of $250,000 per day will be imposed by the Florida Election Commission on any social media company which bans, or de-platforms, a candidate for statewide office.
Fines are also to be levied for similar censorship of more local political candidates, as a $25,000 per day fine will be demanded for deplatforming candidates for non-statewide offices.
“Any Floridian can block any candidate they don’t want to hear from, and that is a right that belongs to each citizen — it’s not for Big Tech companies to decide,” DeSantis’s press release stated.
“Florida is the trailblazer, yet again, on another issue that’s really important,” declared DeSantis, before signing the bill.
The bill has garnered backlash from some, ìncluding Carl Szabo, vice president of the trade group NetChoice, who told the Washington Examiner that the bill “abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host antisemitic, racist, and hateful content.”
However, state Sen. Ray Rodrigues (R), who supported the bill, pointed to the undue influence and lobbying power which is wielded by Big Tech, and the need to curtail such power: “Big Tech has a responsibility to be fair and transparent to all of its users, regardless of our political ideology. Requiring Big Tech to define the behaviors that will lead to someone being de-platformed is a significant victory for free speech and I am grateful for our Governor’s leadership on this issue.”
“When it comes to freedom of speech, in this state, we will defend freedom of speech against digital book burners regardless of how big they are or how powerful they are, because speech is fundamental to our freedom.”
PETITION UPDATE (5/5/2021) - BREAKING: Facebook permanently removes LifeSiteNews’ page
Facebook has just permanently banned LifeSiteNews’ Facebook page. This apparently is not a temporary measure: It is gone for good.
"Much like when LifeSite was removed from YouTube, this comes with little surprise,” noted LifeSiteNews Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts.
"Facebook has been silencing any voice that goes against their beliefs and agenda," continued Roberts. "Our LifeSiteNews Facebook page has been removed simply because we have shared reports of doctors, nurses, expert researchers, and even the former Pfizer VP speaking out against the COVID shots. We’ve also been tagged for the numerous articles we have shared making the connection between the COVID shots, and really all vaccines, and aborted baby cell lines."
"This all comes down to another case of Big Tech silencing free speech on their platform," she added.
"At this time, I encourage those of you who are still on Facebook, Twitter, and other Big Tech platforms to continue sharing LifeSiteNews articles with your friends and family, please!” urged Roberts. “I also encourage you to follow us on these alternative platforms:"
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Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition, vital to our freedom of speech.
PETITION UPDATE (2/23/21) -
LifeSite has signed on to a Media Research Center (MRC) letter to all 50 state Attorneys General, calling for an investigation into Big Tech.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter have monopolized the industry, and are using their influence to collect user data, suppress content, and silence those who voice ideas and beliefs counter to their own.
As we urged prior, action must be taken to combat these efforts, and that is why we’ve joined the MRC in this fight.
Please take a couple of minutes to READ this LifeSiteNews article about MRC's initiative: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/lifesite-joins-effort-asking-state-attorneys-general-to-investigate-big-tech-for-deceptive-trade-practices
Then, please SIGN and STOP using Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
PETITION UPDATE (2/9/21) -
YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a ban, every single one of our videos is completely gone. Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to 300,000+ followers.
This is the latest and appalling affront to free speech which is happening to many conservative and Christian organizations.
Please SIGN this petition and STOP using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google (owner of YouTube) and Amazon to take back your privacy and freedom of speech!
We are not going to take this lying down!
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PETITION UPDATE (1/26/20) -
Twitter has again locked LifeSiteNews out of two of our accounts on the platform for displaying a message noting that President Joe Biden’s newly named Assistant Secretary of Health “Rachel” Levine is a man.
Both accounts displayed a simple message which read: “Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health. ‘Rachel’ Levine is a father of two who divorced his wife in 2013 after 30 years of marriage.” The tweets also included a link to LifeSite’s article Biden names transgender ‘woman’ as Assistant Secretary of Health, and contained part of the opening sentence of that article, “Joe Biden has announced his intention to appoint a gender-confused man” as Assistant Secretary of Health.
For stating biological or Biblical truths, Twitter and Big Tech are trying to shut down conservative voices.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to consider dumping Twitter, Google (who own YouTube) and Facebook. To be clear: LifeSite is still using Twitter and Big Tech to encourage others to migrate away from these illiberal platforms.
This is not the first time that LifeSiteNews has been censored by Twitter. In December 2019, Twitter indefinitely suspended our account for a tweet that linked to an article on transgender activist Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv.
At the time, Twitter gave LifeSite the option to delete the tweet and reactivate our account right away. LifeSite remained steadfast that the tweet did not violate any of the company’s “rules and policies,” and sought several appeals with Twitter, while looking into legal action against the company.
And, while LifeSite's account was eventually restored, we must now consider what course of action we will pursue in this case, over and above appealing the ban.
Meanwhile, since taking office on Wednesday last week, Joe Biden has already signed an executive order which will force women’s athletic programs, restrooms, and locker rooms to be open to men. He has also turned back the Trump administration’s policy protecting women’s sports programs in schools.
Last week, LifeSite was banned for two weeks from our YouTube channel, after the site determined that one of our videos about vaccines violated YouTube’s “community guidelines.” We are also in the middle of appealing this ban.
Please considering SIGNING and SHARING this petition. Thank you!
Twitter just deplatformed President Trump premanently! And, other conservatives, including General Flynn and Sidney Powell, were also summarily deplatformed.
Conservatives, Christians and freedom-loving Americans of all political persuasions must now take a decision to preserve their free speech AND their ability to peaceably assemble by dumping Twitter and Big Tech, and by finding other good alternatives to communicate with each other and share their opinions.
Please SIGN our petition-pledge to Dump Twitter and Big Tech, and take back your freedom of speech and privacy. [CLICK HERE for our "Goodbye Google" resources page to find good alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google!]
When you use Twitter or Facebook to communicate, and, or, Google and Amazon to search for something online, these companies can stifle your ability to share your thoughts and opinions and manipulate your search results, threatening your privacy, your freedom of speech, and even our democracy.
Evidence suggests that Twitter and Facebook's 'community guidelines' are selectively enforced against conservatives and Christians, while Google rigs their search algorithms to direct traffic away from conservative and Christian websites, effectively choking traffic to those sites.
Simply put, Twitter, Facebook, Google (who owns YouTube) and Amazon appear to be actively suppressing access to pro-freedom, pro-family and pro-life news and opinion.
Don't contribute to this assault on democracy: Stop using Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon as your default social media platforms and search engine! [CLICK HERE to find a good alternative to Google.]
To repeat: a few liberal and completely unaccountable computer programmers in Silicon Valley are dictating what we do and do not see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and in our Google searches.
We, here, at LifeSite, also recently had our Twitter account suspended by the company over "misgendering" a man who claims to be a woman.
LifeSite has also experienced a fall-off in Google search-related traffic since the company updated its search algorithms at the beginning of May.
And, since the November election, Twitter and Big Tech appear to have dramatically INCREASED their censorship of conservatives and Christians as the President Trump disputed the results of the election and when evidence of election fraud began to mount.
Now, it seems likely that they are trying to cut-off conservative leaders (like President Trump) from conservatives on the ground, and effectively exclude us from the national conversation.
But, this tactic will not work. Because Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon are not the only game in town! There are a good number of excellent alternatives which we list in our 'Goodbye Google' Resources page.
The great irony is that, while Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon executives talk a lot about maintaining freedom of speech and diversity, in fact, these hypocrites are ATTACKING free speech point-blank!
This kind of manipulation poses a lethal threat to our democracy, but as we see so clearly now, Twitter and Big Tech have shown no hesitation in excluding conservatives and Christians from the public square.
So, at this point, the only way to stop Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon is to quit using their platform.
Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to pledge to stop using Twitter and Big Tech. Then, please CLICK HERE to find alternative search engines and social media platforms. Thank you!
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'BREAKING: Twitter permanently bans President Trump from platform' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-twitter-permanently-bans-president-trump-from-platform
WATCH LifeSite's exclusive series - 'Big Tech vs Free Speech' - of interviews with experts on how Big Tech censorship is killing free speech: https://www.lifesitenews.com/bigtech/
From YouTube to social media and beyond, online censorship is rampant. Read the latest articles covering this ongoing struggle: https://lifefacts.lifesitenews.com/goodbye-google/censorship/
In fact, the Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez went so far as to describe the Big Tech companies as communist: “Many of our constituents know the dangers of being silenced or have been silenced themselves under communist rule. Thankfully in Florida we have a Governor that fights against big tech oligarchs that contrive, manipulate, and censor if you voice views that run contrary to their radical leftist narrative.”
The bill is the first state-wide legislation successfully brought into effect, and will significantly curtail the practices of Big Tech and social media in the state. The governor welcomed the fact that it would propose “real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line.”
DeSantis has previously decried social media censorship as “Orwellian,” after Google-owned video platform YouTube removed a video from DeSantis’s channel. The video was of a roundtable discussion featuring scientists and health professionals, including former White House advisor Dr. Scott Atlas, warning about the dangers and effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and mask wearing.
When explaining the reason for removing the video, YouTube pointed specifically to the discussion dealing with mask wearing for children, which the roundtable group had described as harmful and unnecessary.
“Some of our biggest media conglomerates, who claim to be avatars of the first amendment and free exchange of ideas — they’ve really become cheerleaders for censorship,” stated DeSantis at the time.