Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried criticized this week the Governor’s priority piece of legislation, the “Transparency in Technology” Act, as “disingenuous,” “knee-jerk” and “not real policy.”
On Wednesday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis had his say, defending the policy as very real indeed, and relevant to the interests of “run of the mill Floridians” besides.
He defended the bill in a friendly forum: during the Fox News Channel’s Ingraham Angle.
“Yeah, no, The Florida election. This is something that we do. We have our own election code and if you were to host a party for a candidate that would be considered some type of contribution. So why should Big Tech be able to totally deplatform somebody or suppress their message to try to benefit someone else and have that not count,” the Governor said, reprising claims that Facebook, Google, and the rest can game election narratives for left-of-center candidates.
“And then you have the run of the mill Floridians. Small businesses: they’re looking at what happened to Parler, what’s happened to other people who have been canceled? Can Big Tech just shut down their access, their payment processing, their email, all this stuff, and I don’t think this is something five or 10 years ago we’d thought was possible,” DeSantis said. “I think these protections are warranted and I think most Floridians will appreciate having them.”
Fried criticized the legislation in a question and answer session at a Tallahassee press conference.
“I believe that where the Governor and the Republican leadership is today is more a knee-jerk reaction and for politicking and not real policy,” Fried said Tuesday. “We need to be looking at the policy of the tech companies.”
The DeSantis-backed legislation, to be fast-tracked in the House and Senate, includes provisions that would levy $100,000 daily fines to social media companies for “deplatforming” candidates for office, and a mechanism for creating a “cause of action” pathway for legal action, either from the Attorney General or private citizens under the guise of deceptive and unfair practices.