Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just weeks ago signed into law the idea that Big Tech is serving, essentially, as a government information suppression bureaucracy and its members are subject to the First Amendment, only to see a judge strike it down.
But now, an analysis points out that the same perspective that DeSantis expressed in discussing the so-far-unsuccessful bill already had been expressed by none other that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
And that court is where the dispute may end up.
The war on Big Tech’s control over and censorship of opinions, information and news, which had been building for several years but exploded in recognition last winter when they uniformly censored President Trump, suddenly has been getting crowded.
Just on Wednesday, Trump announced a class action lawsuit against the essential monopolies posed by Big Tech in America – Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like. He charges that they are coordinating with Democrat officials in government on what to censor, and so essentially are acting as a government bureaucracy, making them subject to the First Amendment.
DeSantis explained as the fight was going on over Florida’s plan that Big Tech was “censoring things about some of the most important issues” today, including COVID-19 origins in China, the effectiveness of lockdowns, and as a result, are “really doing damage to society,” according to a report from the Neon Nettle.
“When they are censoring things about some of the most important issues that we have ever addressed – how COVID started, whether lockdowns work – they’re really doing damage to society,” he said during an interview on Fox.
Just days earlier, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed “it now is clear” Facebook was “utilizing their monopoly position to censor on behalf of the government,” regarding COVID information.
That was prompted by Facebook’s sudden flip-flop – and its decision abruptly to allow discussion that COVID might have been man-made, after censoring those comments for months.
The reversal followed the lead of Pesident Biden and other government officials who suggested further investigations were appropriate.
Cruz also had suggested Facebook could face a liability.
“These latest breakthroughs have real consequence because it now is clear that Facebook was operating at the direction of and in the direct benefit of the federal government and operating as the government’s censor, utilizing their monopoly position to censor on behalf of the government,” Cruz said.
DeSantis, after the decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to strike Florida’s law, promised to go to war with Big Tech. He vowed to appeal the decision, and the Neon Nettle report noted Thomas already has argued “that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter should no longer be able to hide behind protections like the First Amendment and Section 230 in their bid to regulate certain forms of speech on their platforms.”
The report said, “Thomas hinted at two fundamental arguments that could be crucial elements of the legislative strategy for hindering Big Tech’s efforts to suppress conservative speech online. Firstly, the argument that companies like Twitter are ‘public accommodations’ would provide legislators with effective tools to regulate their control of content — for better or for worse. Secondly, the explicit judicial acknowledgment that Section 230 is being leveraged by social media companies to provide ‘immunity’ for their “’ad-faith’ removal of third-party content provides a further indication that the alteration of Section 230 is a possibility in the near future.”
DeSantis’ plan was that Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms could sue – and win monetary damages. Also, the state’s attorney general could bring an action against companies that violate the law.
Specifically, the companies would be banned from de-platforming Florida political candidates, under penalty of fines.
He explained Florida residents have been subjected to the “censorship and other tyrannical behavior” that is like that in Cuba.
Hinkle, instead, claimed that the rights of “providers” would be violated.
But he admitted it appeared to be a “First Amendment” issue.
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