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Lawmakers combine over tech transparency legislation

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Pat Raia[email protected]

Leaders of Florida’s legislature joined Gov. Ron DeSantis to announce forthcoming legislation that would boost transparency in  “Big Tech” platforms such as Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, and Google in Florida. The measure is aimed at preventing the firms from the wholesale censoring of individuals or groups.

The still-unnamed measure would require the technology companies to publish the standards they use to ban posts, de-platform and shadow users ( track them without their knowledge).

It would also forbid the manipulation by algorithms to prevent established news organizations and qualified political candidates from reaching users, and prevent platforms from arbitrarily censoring or de-platforming users.

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Finally, the measure would require that all platforms allow users to opt-out of algorithms, and to clearly communicate and obtain user consent before making frequent changes to their terms of use.

The intention to file the legislation was announced on Feb. 2 by DeSantis along with Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, Rep. Chris Sprowls, Speaker of the State’s House of Representatives, Senate President Wilton Simpson, Sen. Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills), and House Commerce Committee Chair Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill).

Ingoglia has filed twin legislation, the Transparency in Technology Act, in the Florida House according to a written statement by DeSantis office,

DeSantis said that legislation is necessary to protect the free speech of Florida’s tech-platform users.

 “We can’t allow Floridians’ privacy, voices, or livelihoods be violated or diminished,” DeSantis said. “Big Tech shouldn’t be in the business of censoring or de-platforming candidates, but rather, voters should be able to make that choice independently – Floridians should be able to choose which content to consume and which to ignore.”

The broader legislation will come after Burgess introduced SB 520 which would require social media websites to provide individual and business users with written notice and a detailed explanation within 30-days of suspending or disabling an account.

All the legislation remains pending.

 

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