News and Commentary

DeSantis: ‘Big Tech Has Become The Censorship Arm Of The Democratic Party’

   DailyWire.com
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at LifeScience Logistics to urge the Biden administration to approve Florida's plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, thereby saving Floridians an estimated $100 million annually on drug costs.
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis called out Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives following the release of a new Heritage Foundation video that noted the vast disparity of censorship between Republican and Democratic House members.

“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,” DeSantis said on Twitter on Thursday.

“Silicon Valley oligarchs shouldn’t be the arbiters of free speech in our country. We must fight back!” he added.

The post shared a video by Kara Frederick, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who testified in a hearing before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

“Twitter and Facebook censor Republican members of Congress at a rate of 53 to 1 compared to Democrats,” Frederick said.

“Twitter suspends conservatives 21 times more often than liberals,” she added.

The September study she cited also noted:

But besides censoring those Republicans already in Congress, Big Tech has also reportedly taken measures that impact new Republicans attempting to join the legislative body. Republican candidates running for U.S. Congress have been censored at least 15 times since November of 2019. Free Speech America could not find a single example of Democrat candidates facing censorship.

Frederick worked at Facebook from 2016 to 2017 and helped develop its Global Security Counterterrorism Analysis Program. She believed she was helping improve democracy.

“But I was wrong, it’s 2021, and the verdict is in: Big Tech is an enemy of the people,” she said.

In her testimony, Frederick also cited an October study that said, “The Wall Street Journal published leaked documents that revealed Facebook created and used two internal tools that suppressed right wing content, media traffic, and reach on its site in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory. Facebook’s research concluded that if the tools were removed, ‘very conservative’ traffic would increase by tens of percentages.”

DeSantis signed a bill in May to ban social media companies from deplatforming political candidates. The law stated, “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. … Social media platforms have unfairly censored, shadow banned, deplatformed, and applied post-prioritization algorithms to Floridians.”

In July, The Daily Wire reported that a federal judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Florida law.

In his injunction, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle argued that banning “de-platforming” likely violated the free speech rights of the tech companies, writing, “The legislation compels providers to host speech that violates their standards — speech they otherwise would not host — and forbids providers from speaking as they otherwise would.”

He added sarcastically, “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,” NBC News reported.

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