Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday named addressing the censorship of conservatives and conservative viewpoints as a top legislative issue to “get right” moving forward.
DeSantis, an ally of President Trump, spoke at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation in Austin, Texas, on Thursday and said that the country must “really think deeply about if we are a disfavored class based on our principles, based on having conservative views, based on being a Christian, based on whatever you can say that is not favored in Silicon Valley.”
He later identified censorship as a top issue, telling the group, “I think it’s probably the most important legislative issue that we’re going to have to get right this year and next year.”
DeSantis spoke about the action taken against Parler, a social media platform embraced by conservatives, specifically. Amazon booted the platform from its web hosting service Amazon Web Services (AWS) following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” Amazon said in an email to Parler at the time. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook also explained why Apple chose to suspend the platform from the App Store.
“We looked at the incitement of violence that was on there. We don’t consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection,” he told Fox News’s Chris Wallace.
“They decapitated this company, Parler,” DeSantis told the group, calling the collective action against the platform a “coordinated assault on a company that was trying to compete.”
Per the Tampa Bay Times:
In response to what happened to Parler, DeSantis called for the government to regulate technology companies more closely. In Florida, at least, that is going to be difficult — if not impossible. As DeSantis noted, large companies are not subject to the Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects government incursion on free speech. And the companies operate across state lines, making the regulatory landscape a federal issue. Unless the United States government steps in, Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies will likely continue controlling who gets to use their platforms.
Meanwhile, Randy Fine, a Republican Florida lawmaker, is “urging the governor and his cabinet to cut off state tax dollars from Big Tech firms—including Apple, Twitter, and Google, among others,” as Breitbart News reported:
This morning I asked the Governor and Cabinet to divest the state from Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Facebook. They may get to decide who they do business with. So do we. @Fla_Pol pic.twitter.com/QfoUhghgnP
— Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) January 12, 2021
DeSantis reportedly told the group in Texas that, on the mounting issues of censorship, they are “going to take action.”
“I think you’re going to see Texas want to take action,” he added.
His remarks come in the wake of Twitter permanently banning President Trump’s personal account from the platform. Google-owned YouTube announced this week that it is suspending Trump’s channel, with Facebook and Instagram suspending him indefinitely.