Gov. DeSantis warns against social media companies getting involved with feds’ disinfo board

Desantis, Ron - 5
'What they said was disinformation almost always turned out to be true.'

On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis continued his series of dire warnings about a new federal initiative to clamp down on disinformation, contending social media companies “subcontracting” for this “Ministry of Truth” would not be tolerated in Florida.

“They’ll say they’re private companies, and they are, but if … the government is subcontracting out these private entities, they have to follow the First Amendment too at that point,” DeSantis said in Trenton. “You can’t evade the First Amendment at that point.”

During stops in Mayo and Trenton, the Governor revisited what has become an increasingly familiar case against the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board.

The “disinformation bureau,” DeSantis said in Trenton, would “basically police speech in this country.”

“What they want to do is create preferred narratives. And then if you dissent from those narratives, they want to label that as ‘disinformation.’ They want to marginalize, and hopefully from their perspective, they’d want to deplatform or censor people who are not toeing the line,” DeSantis warned.

He then explained his theory about how social media companies may act as an enforcement arm of the government.

“Here’s what I think they are doing with this: They’re not going to be able to necessarily directly censor you from the government, because they know that would be unconstitutional,” DeSantis said.

“And then therefore they’re going to give that to the social media companies and say, ‘You guys have a responsibility to police disinformation on your platforms.’ And they’re going to hope the social media companies do their dirty work to try to stifle dissent,” DeSantis said.

The state is formally on the record against the DHS disinformation panel, threatening a lawsuit if the Board stays in place.

“What they said was disinformation almost always turned out to be true,” DeSantis added, discussing his COVID-19 back-and-forth with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, his push to open schools, and other familiar talking points in support.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has formalized the state’s pique, signing onto a letter with a number of GOP Attorneys General demanding the Board’s termination, or else “judicial remedies” will be pursued.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


4 comments

  • ScienceBLVR

    May 11, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Here is hoping the board can censor what comes out or DeSantis’s mouth as we know most of that is NOT true. And you dont need a social media company to tell you that. Let’s give him the “Pinocchio test” and see how long his nose grows. What a authoritarian right wing nut he is. Talk about disinformation. His statements are the epitome of gross exaggeration, hyperbole and just downright BS.

    Reply

    • SteveHC

      May 11, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Agreed 110%. DeSantis has allowed himself to devolve into a petty, lying, hypocritical blow-hard who insists that every other politician be a full-blown DeSantis sycophant “or else”. A pretty creepy fellow indeed. Praying he gets blown out of the electoral waters next time around.

      Reply

      • TJC

        May 11, 2022 at 2:16 pm

        So ironic that he would claim “They want to marginalize” when as governor he attacks the rights of students who are not white and straight and maskless the way he wants them to be. The governor who insists on drawing voting district lines to marginalize minorities, the governor who singles out Disney for dealing with China when every major corporation in the U.S. is doing the same, the governor who attacks state university professors because he suspects (correctly) they don’t agree with him on everything.
        As one who serves up imagined enemies of the state to his followers to scare them into supporting him, he is the King of Marginalization, and he knows it, and sees that it is good. For him.

        Reply

  • PeterH

    May 12, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    As reported by yesterday’s Wall Street Journal….. the USA is not alone in its critique of private on line businesses and fake news.

    Joining the USA is the EU, India, Australia and other nations who will put pressure on Social Media to monitor and correct misinformation.

    Musk will end up hiring thousands of people to satisfy Western democracies! Musk may regret the expected endless court cases if he doesn’t comply. DeSantis has absolutely no leverage over privately owned social media companies!

    Reply

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