Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis sign a new law this week designed to protect residents and community leaders from high-tech voice checks.
On Monday, DeSantis banned social media companies from censoring or dismantling Floridians without offering detailed standards of their guidelines with consistent enforcement, with fines of up to $ 100,000 in damages for each proven claim.
“This session, we have taken steps to ensure that ‘We the people’ – the true Floridians of the Sunshine State – have guaranteed protection against the elites of Silicon Valley,” DeSantis said in a statement after the adoption of the bill, invoking the experiences of the State. residents who have fled oppressive regimes where free speech exists only as a myth. “If Big Tech censors apply the rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of mainstream Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”
This was just the latest episode of the Republican governor offending the culture war after he was one of the first to ban vaccine passports – in state agencies and private businesses – and to sign bonus for the police, as opposed to the salary cuts demanded by the left movement for “Defund Police”.
The latest move could not have been followed by a more perfect sequence of events to show the need for Republicans to be proactive in the fight to reclaim the digital public square as a space for free expression.
Facebook censors those who refuse COVID vaccines
On the day DeSantis enacted Florida’s Big Tech Law, the Project Veritas investigative group published a memo leaked by Facebook as well as testimony from two inside whistleblowers revealing the company’s efforts to remove content from users the company has deemed vaccine-hesitant.
The company, according to Veritas, whose CEO James O’Keefe was kicked from Twitter without a proper explanation, has implemented a tiered system to categorize content based on vaccine reluctance in an attempt to remove comments ranked at the top of the scale. The goal, described by an insider who spoke to the investigative group, was to “dramatically reduce user exposure to vaccine reluctance (VH) in comments.”
“They try to control this content before it even arrives on your page before you even see it,” said the person whose identity is being protected by the project.
Facebook acknowledged the existence of the program in a statement to Veritas.
“We have proactively announced this policy on our company blog and have also updated our Help Center with this information,” Facebook said.
Christina Pushaw, DeSantis press secretary, told Federalist Florida that Florida’s new big tech law would not apply retroactively, but stressed that residents now have a tool to combat unfair interference. in online communications, which the governor himself has experienced.
“The law requires big tech companies to publish clear standards and policies on what types of content are not allowed on their platforms – and to notify users in advance of changes to their content policies.” , Pushaw said. “Asking questions, expressing opinions or sharing personal experiences related to vaccines should not be considered ‘misinformation’, especially if Facebook users are not informed in advance that their accounts can be deleted for this. type of content. “
While today’s deleted content is on top of vaccine decisions, tomorrow there is content claiming that only women can get pregnant.
Facebook censors do 180 on COVID origin theory
A second episode of malfeasance this week highlighted the need for DeSantis’ proactive approach. On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it would no longer remove posts claiming the Wuhan novel coronavirus was man-made or fabricated.
The move came as new evidence continues to emerge implicating the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in the viral outbreak. There, researchers, in cooperation with the Chinese military, engaged in high-risk research on “gain of function”. The form of research, in which scientists extract viruses from nature and design them to infect humans to study potential therapies, including vaccines, is so dangerous that the US government banned the practice in 2014.
In February, however, Facebook announced in an “update” that in order to combat disinformation, it would remove posts claiming that “COVID-19 is made or made by humans.” This week’s reversal, however, acknowledged the possibility that Facebook itself has been perpetuating disinformation for months by removing content related to the theory of fabricated lab leaks.
Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal breathed new life into the idea discredited by big tech and their allies in mainstream media as a conspiracy when the newspaper reported on hitherto undisclosed intelligence. the history told the story of three researchers from the Wuhan laboratory who were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, just before the first pandemic outbreak in the same region. Now, the Biden administration has ordered a 90-day investigation into the origins of the virus involving the Chinese lab.
Pushaw told the Federalist that, in the future, the new anti-censorship law signed by DeSantis would ban the type of speech restrictions suffered by those who credited the theory of man-made lab leaks explaining the origins of the coronavirus.
“If this kind of discriminatory censorship continues, it would be a motive for misleading users in Florida to sue Facebook,” Pushaw said. “Facebook has never provided a rationale or even an explanation for their content moderation policies around the lab leak theory.”
The episode of the laboratory leak theory suddenly accepted in legacy newsrooms, and in turn, the Silicon Valley tech giants that dictate the public square in which all newsrooms operate, is on the way to become a routine phenomenon where “disinformation” ceases to be “disinformation” when it is accepted by Democrats.