Legislation that would prevent firms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, and Google from the wholesale censoring of individuals or groups has cleared its last Florida House of Representatives committee review. The measure to promote greater transparency among big tech firms is now headed for review by the State’s full House.
Proposed on Feb. 2 by Gov. Ron DeSantis and backed by a group of Florida lawmakers, HB 7013 was subsequently filed to forbid platforms from using algorithm manipulation to prevent established news organizations and qualified political candidates from reaching users. It also prohibits them from arbitrarily censoring or de-platforming users.
According to State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) the legislation is intended to protect Floridians’ freedom of speech.
“The bill punishes tech giants when they engage in monopolistic behavior,” Ingoglia said. “Since the Federal government refuses to do anything on the issue, we will take steps to protect Floridians and their first amendment right of free speech.”
HB 7013 cleared the Florida House’s Judiciary Committee on March 19 by a vote of 19-8, and is now pending in the Florida House of Representatives.
Also on March 19, a bill that would require the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to maintain an online application process for issuance of licenses cleared the Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives. If passed, HB 1343 would also prohibit the agency from arbitrarily or subjectively restricting access to online applications.
According to Ingoglia, the bill was filed after DACS Commissioner Nikki Fried closed down the online concealed carry permit application portal while keeping others open.
“This (the closure) is a clear attack on our 2nd amendment rights,” he said. “This bill, if passed, will make sure that never happens again.”
HB 1343 remains pending.