Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into a law a new bill on Friday that will fine social media companies up to $250,000 each day that they deplatform a candidate for public office.
Specifically, if Facebook or Twitter among others bans a candidate for statewide office, they would be fined a quarter million each day. Other candidates for lower offices – including Congress – would incur a fine of $25,000 per day when they ban or suspend a candidate.
The bill was spearheaded by Laura Loomer who in 2020 ran for Congress but was banned by Facebook and Twitter.
Loomer’s opponent in the Florida Congressional race, Lois Frankel, enjoyed the use of her personal account and congressional accounts on each platform while Loomer was silenced and even banned from advertising on Facebook.
Loomer is the “most banned woman in the world” mainly for calling Ilhan Omar “anti-Jewish” on Twitter.
Donald Trump was banned on Twitter and Facebook following the January 6th riots. While the bill was silent on previous, standing bans, it’s assumed that if Trump were to run for president in 2024 and his campaign account was banned or denied access, both Facebook and Twitter would each face $91 million in fines for a yearlong ban.
In 2020, the Trump campaign spent over $89 million on Facebook advertising alone.
Twitter banned political ads in 2020 and generated no revenue.
The bold step by Florida strikes a blow to Big Tech companies that are meddling in elections by banning and suspending candidates.
If other state legislatures follow Florida’s lead, Facebook and Twitter will be flirting with bankruptcy over their choices to censor candidates for public office.
With the Florida ban alone, which only applies to candidates for office in Florida – not Florida residents – (and most offices in the state only have residency requirements that apply if a candidate wins), Twitter would be fined the equivalent of their annual gross revenue with a year’s worth of fines if 100 banned candidates chose to run for a statewide race.