Randy Fine wants state divested from tech giants after Donald Trump’s purge from social media

Florida House Committee Meetings
Fine argues the companies are selectively enforcing their rules to disfavor conservatives.

Republican Rep. Randy Fine is calling on the state to look into its investments with major tech companies and withdraw that money after President Donald Trump was kicked off several social media platforms following last week’s Capitol attack.

Facebook, Twitter and other companies cited Trump’s month-long crusade to stir up his supporters with false claims the presidential election was stolen. That culminated in Wednesday’s Washington rally — which Trump promoted beforehand as “wild” and turned into an insurrection.

While he stated protests should be peaceful, Trump whipped up the crowd during a speech where he directed supporters to protest at the Capitol. Once there, several clashed with police and stormed the building, resulting in several deaths.

In response, multiple technology companies banned Trump citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.” In a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fine argues Trump and his supporters are being unfairly targeted.

The letter specifically asks the Governor to “order the immediate divestment of any Florida-held equity and debt” in Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Twitter.

“They may get to decide who they do business with. So do we,” Fine said.

“No matter what one thinks about President Trump, he remains the duly-elected President of the United States until noon on Jan. 20. If the President of the United States can be silenced by these companies, then so can anyone.”

It appears Fine has some back up from Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a fellow Republican in the Cabinet.

In response to Fine’s proposal, Patronis said, “We should consider getting this on the next Cabinet agenda. Big-tech coordinated to shut down conservative accounts but still allows [Venezuelan leader] Nicolás Maduro to spread lies.”

Fine referenced other controversial world leaders from China, Iran and elsewhere that remain active on Twitter despite outrageous and violent statements of their own.

“It is clear that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in one-sided viewpoint discrimination targeting conservatives,” Fine wrote.

“These companies allow actual terrorists around the world to use their platforms to target America, Americans, and our allies, without as much as a peep. And it is not disputed that Amazon, Apple, and Google are actively working to eliminate any alternative outlets where conservatives can speak freely.”

Parler, an alternative to Twitter promoted by several conservative voices, has for now essentially been kicked off the internet after Apple and Google blocked the app from its app stores and Amazon revoked hosting services, leaving the app completely offline. Those companies cited numerous calls for violence before Wednesday’s attack that had gone unregulated.

This isn’t Fine’s first fight with a major tech giant.

In 2019, Fine backed a battle against Airbnb after the company removed listings of properties in the West Bank from its website. There too, Fine pushed for Florida to pull any state pension money out of Airbnb.

Ultimately, the company shifted its policies after pressure from Florida and other companies.

Fine said he would be sending the same letter if social media companies were targeting liberal groups. He’s also planning on following up with additional legislation.

“I will shortly be introducing legislation to forbid any state or local government from conducting any business with these companies, effective July 1 of this year,” Fine said. “No Facebook, Twitter, or Google advertising by Florida governments; no use of any Amazon services by any Florida government; no purchases of Apple or Android devices by any government agency.”

Many critics have objected to the outsized power social media companies have given our widespread reliance on their services. And while those companies have pointed to several objectionable postings to justify their actions, Fine argues that enforcement is selective and is disfavoring conservative voices.

“I am deeply disturbed to see the country’s major technology companies use the actions of these few as a pretext to silence tens of millions of good, patriotic Americans, millions of whom live here in Florida,” Fine argued.

“Florida taxpayers should not be forced to do business with entities that censor them.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


10 comments

  • James M. Mejuto

    January 12, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Yes, the Randy Fine’s of this world continue to support
    a failed President.
    Amazing, how bankrupt this Republican Party!

  • Ocean Joe

    January 12, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Remember when Republicans led by the Bush family thought heavy investment in Enron (Texas) was smart? If you want ideological nincompoops and incompetent government keep electing these guys.

    PS: Randy, how bout the “rioter” with the Camp Auschwitz tee shirt? You begged Jewish voters to vote for Trump. You do realize who you’re in bed with, right? See most will look the other way, these folks waving the confederate flag are necessary to a winning coalition. But after all the moral pontificating, don’t you understand what is said when you, or Blacks, or Hispanics are not in the room?

  • Marco

    January 12, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Continue to say he’s a failed president when he has more fantastic achievements than you’re affirmative elected president obama. Which obama had one achievement basically to destroy our healthcare.

  • Marco

    January 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    @Ocean Joe The libs made the confederate flag into a racist issue. The Confederate flag is Southern Pride to the Southerners. When you turn something into a Politically Correct agenda anything can be looked at through very narrow vision and turned into a bad thing.

    Jews voted for Trump because he wants all Americans to be safe and prosperous. The left on the other hand has members of Congress that should be suspended for their Anti Semitic rhetoric against Jews. BLM had Anti Jew speeches in the summer. The Squad are racists, bigots and Anti America. The Left is the antithesis of America and what America stands for.

    Good luck looking through your no common sense looking glasses. Socialism and Communism has no place in America. It’s failed over and over again in history.

    Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results….hence the Lib

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 13, 2021 at 7:54 am

    “Ocean Joe” you’re very good at creating your own facts. Typical far left rant
    Mejuto is cut from the same cloth

    The next two years will educate the public about the damage to the country you and your ilk do

  • Palmer Tom

    January 13, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Let me get this straight. We have a legislator who wants to remove high-performing stocks from the state’s portfolio when it is facing financial strain from the pandemic? The only rationale is that they banned little Donnie for his incitements but still allow foreigners that none of us tune into or have to listen to Pathetic.

  • Nikolai Romanov

    January 13, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Randy… THANK YOU from NYC!!! We need more politicians like you in this country. Stand firm!

  • Gray Panther

    January 13, 2021 at 10:36 am

    “Yes, the Randy Fine’s of this world continue to support
    a failed President.
    Amazing, how bankrupt this Republican Party!”

    As if President Trump has failed. You apparently approve of the destruction of millions of lives for partisan reasons. People like you are the problem here.

  • Sonja Fitch

    January 13, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Fine fine! But stupid the social media sites are PRIVATE businesses like you have voted for them to keep that right! Randy get out! You are just another brainwashed and braindead goptrump death cult sociopath! The truth and nothing but the truth! Get out traitor! You are compromised from reality and the truth!

  • LeRoy

    January 14, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    Randy need to be voted out of office.

Comments are closed.


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