On Tuesday, a Florida GOP state representative wrote an open letter to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and his cabinet asking them to “order the immediate divestment of any Florida-held equity and debt of the following companies: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet (Google).”
Rep. Randy Fine started his letter noting that last Wednesday’s attack at the U.S. Capitol was “one of the saddest days of my life.” He referred to the “heroic officers” as they “held back a violent mob,” adding that “terrorists defiled a sacred temple of democracy.”
“I am deeply disturbed to see the country’s major technology companies use the actions of these few as a pretext to silence tens of millions of good, patriotic Americans, millions of whom live here in Florida,” Fine continued. “No matter what one thinks about President Trump, he remains the duly-elected President of the United States until noon on January 20th. If the President of the United States can be silenced by these companies, then so can anyone.”
Then Fine went after Big Tech (formatting adjusted):
It is clear that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in one-sided viewpoint discrimination targeting conservatives. These companies allow actual terrorists around the world to use their platforms to target America, Americans, and our allies, without as much as a peep.
And it is not disputed that Amazon, Apple, and Google are actively working to eliminate any alternative outlets where conservatives can speak freely. While I do not dispute that, as private companies, it is within their rights to choose who to do business with, it is also our right as a state to determine which companies in which we wish to invest.
Fine cited an example where the state of Florida acted to change the course of what they perceived as unfair actions by a private company:
We faced a similar issue a year ago. A large company, AirBnB, chose to target certain Jewish Floridians whose property was in no different a situation that many non-Jewish Floridians around the world. We spoke with a clear voice, telling AirBnB that if they boycotted them, we would do the same. And our actions ultimately helped convince them to change course. Now it is time to do that with these companies.
Florida taxpayers should not be forced to do business with entities that censor them. To be clear, you would be getting this same letter if it was liberal groups being silenced. Because the power used on one group inevitably gets turned back around on the other. It is unfortunate that these technologists spent so much time learning how to code that they learned so little of history.
After asserting that he intended to file legislation “to forbid any state or local government from conducting any business with these companies,” Fine concluded, “They may get to decide who they do business with. So do we.”
This morning I asked the Governor and Cabinet to divest the state from Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, and Facebook. They may get to decide who they do business with. So do we. @Fla_Pol pic.twitter.com/QfoUhghgnP
— Randy Fine (@VoteRandyFine) January 12, 2021
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