Big Tech's crackdown on conservatives that began last month has prompted calls from some in Congress to rein in these out-of-control platforms. But with Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, any meaningful action is unlikely in Washington D.C. That leaves it up to the states, especially those with Republican governors and Republican-led legislatures. And so far, two of the biggest states--Florida and Texas--are fighting back against Big Tech.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and state legislative leaders are pushing sweeping legislation that would punish technology platforms and hold them accountable for censoring or removing political content or political candidates. Specifically, the bill would fine tech companies that suspend any candidate for elected office, or that suppress or prioritize content related to political candidates or causes on the ballot.
Perhaps the biggest target of the Florida legislation is content filters. "Tech companies have all sorts of content filters on their platforms...for things like hate speech, fake news, disinformation...and DeSantis wants citizens to be able to opt out of those filters, which gets to the heart of overcoming tech censorship," says Allum Bokhari, Breitbart senior technology correspondent and author of DELETED: Big Tech's Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal the Election.
Florida isn't the only red state going after the tech monopolies. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently sued Google on anti-trust grounds, claiming the company monopolizes the online ad market. Bokhari says further legislation and legal action will be needed to break the monopoly powers of these companies. "The source of their dominance is the vast amounts of data they have on every single person, and that their competitors don't have similar amounts of data," he says. "Which is what prevents a Duck Duck Go from competing with Google."
The battle over Big Tech censorship may ultimately end up being decided in the Supreme Court, but in the meantime Florida and Texas could start a new trend of Republican leaders fighting back at the state level. "This is a top issue for Republican voters, and I would imagine that any Republican governor who's in touch with the base and in touch with what their voters want would follow suit," says Bokhari.