Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of the state of Florida, challenged Big Tech censorship recently. He spoke on behalf of his conservative comrades after the release of a new video from the Heritage Foundation. This video focused on the disparity of censorship between Republican and Democratic House members.
Governor DeSantis wrote on Twitter this week that Big Tech has become the “censorship arm of the Democratic Party and political left, silencing and de-platforming anyone who rejects the chosen left-wing narrative.”
The governor declared that the “oligarchs of Silicon Valley” should not be the ones that make decisions on free speech in America. He called for our citizens to “fight back.”
In the Twitter post, DeSantis shared a video by Kara Frederick, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation. She testified on Capitol Hill in a hearing in front of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce.
Frederick revealed that Twitter and Facebook censor the GOP members of Congress at a rate of 53 to 1 compared to their Democratic colleagues. She also made it clear that Twitter suspends those with a conservative voice 21 times more often than those with liberal messages.
The Heritage Foundation study did not just focus on the censorship happening to Republicans who are already in Congress, the Big Tech industry is also focusing on new Republicans who are hoping to join Congress in the future.
They found that GOP candidates running for the U.S. Congress have been censored approximately 15 times since November of 2019. Across the aisle, Free Speech America could not find one instance of censorship with Democratic candidates.
Kara Frederick was an employee of Facebook from 2016 to 2017. She helped to develop the Global Security Counterterrorism Analysis Program. Her goal was to help improve democracy but realized that she was wrong. She was quick to point out that Big Tech has become the enemy of the people.
While giving testimony on Capitol Hill, Frederick cited another study done in October. This study indicated that The Wall Street Journal published leaked documents that showed how Facebook created two internal tools that suppressed right-wing content. These tools controlled media traffic and post reach in the days following Donald Trump’s successful run for the presidency in 2016. Facebook’s own research concluded that if the tools had not been used, conservative traffic would have increased by significant percentages.
Governor DeSantis signed a bill back in May to ban social media companies from de-platforming political candidates. This measure states that social media platforms that “unfairly censor, shadowban, deplatform, or apply post-prioritization algorithms to Florida candidates, Florida users, or Florida residents are not acting in good faith.” After all, we cannot allow Big Tech to completely censor us.
But in July, a federal judge who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton gave a preliminary injunction that blocked the Florida law. Judge Robert Hinkle, a U.S. District Court judge, argued in his injunction that banning de-platforming probably violated the free speech rights of the Big Tech companies. He said that the Florida legislation “compelled” providers to contain speech that violated their standards, and it forbids providers from speaking as this might otherwise allow. That sounds like a great way to convince us not to be bothered by what the social platforms are doing…
NBC News reported that Judge Hinkle said this, “Like prior First Amendment restrictions, this is an instance of burning the house to roast a pig. … Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest. And even aside from the actual motivation for this legislation, it is plainly content-based and subject to strict scrutiny.”
I wonder what this judge would be saying if the censorship was focused on the left’s message. He might be crying “wee, wee, wee, all the way home.”