News and Analysis

DeSantis Directs His Secretary Of State To Investigate Facebook For ‘Alleged Election Interference’

   DailyWire.com
KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2021/09/22: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference before newly appointed state Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo at Neo City Academy in Kissimmee, Florida. A day after being appointed, Ladapo instituted his first rule giving parents "sole discretion" over whether their child wears a mask at school, and also allowing students who come in contact with the coronavirus to continue attending class if they remain asymptomatic.
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis directed Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee to investigate Facebook for alleged election interference, saying that reports suggesting that Facebook impacted the results of state and local elections were “an affront to the basic principles of our republic.”

“I hereby direct that your office immediately investigate this alleged election interference caused by Facebook through its whitelisting program – and any other previously undisclosed program within Facebook – in order to determine whether any violations of Florida’s election laws took place,” DeSantis said in a letter to Lee. “Your office should use all legal means to uncover any such violations, including but not limited to, issuing subpoenas, conducting witness interviews, reviewing all available information and consulting with law enforcement.”

DeSantis’ order follows an explosive report in The Wall Street Journal that alleged that Facebook gave preferential treatment to some of the platform’s elite users.

The portion of the report that DeSantis focused on stated:

While the program included most government officials, it didn’t include all candidates for public office, at times effectively granting incumbents in elections an advantage over challengers. The discrepancy was most prevalent in state and local races, the documents show, and employees worried Facebook could be subject to accusations of favoritism.

“It’s no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently,” DeSantis said in a statement. “If this new report is true, Facebook has violated Florida law to put its thumb on the scale of numerous state and local races. Floridians deserve to know how much this corporate titan has influenced our elections. That is why I am directing Secretary Lee to use all legal means to uncover violations of Florida’s election laws. The thought of Facebook clandestinely manipulating elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic. We the people have the right to choose our representatives, whether or not Silicon Valley approves.”

The press release from DeSantis’ office continued:

Internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveal the egregious double standard that Facebook applies to its users. While most people are subject to arbitrary censorship at the whims of so-called fact-checkers, Facebook grants select users the freedom to disregard the platform’s own community standards without the threat of enforcement action.

If the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Facebook has created a privileged class of speakers and has empowered them to manipulate our elections with impunity. Even more disturbing, these elite users on Facebook’s “whitelist” were allegedly selected by the tech giant behind closed doors. The selection process, scope, and real-world influence of the whitelist is concealed from the public and known only to Facebook. If true, this process may have provided a benefit to incumbent elected politicians over their challengers in state and local elections.

Floridians deserve to have faith that their elections are free from Big Tech interference, and corporations like Facebook deserve to be held accountable for actions that erode the legitimacy of our institutions.

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