By taking on Leftwing social media giant Facebook Florida’s limited government constitutional conservative Republican all star Governor Ron DeSantis has proven once again
why he is the conservative choice for President in 2024 should Donald Trump choose not to run.
Earlier this month The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook’s XCheck system grew to include at least 5.8 million users in 2020, documents show. In its struggle to accurately moderate a torrent of content and avoid negative attention, Facebook created invisible elite tiers within the social network.
In describing the system, Facebook has misled the public and its own Oversight Board, a body that Facebook created to ensure the accountability of the company’s enforcement systems.
Everyone in politics knows Facebook manipulates and interferes in elections through their arbitrary and capricious content monitoring policies, but no one except Ron DeSantis is prepared to act.
As Renzo Downey reported for FloridaPolitics.com, on Monday followed the Wall Street Journal report the Silicon Valley behemoth exempts some high-profile users, including politicians and journalists, from some or all of its content rules. DeSantis ordered Secretary of State Laurel Lee and the Department of State’s Division of Elections to investigate what the Governor’s Office called “alleged failures to comply with Florida’s election laws.”
“It’s no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently,” DeSantis said. “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.”
Whitelisting certain public profiles creates two classes of speakers, empowering the privileged class to “manipulate our elections with impunity,” according to the Governor’s Office.
Facebook’s “XCheck” shields millions of users, including some who spread posts the company had otherwise flagged as false disinformation, from its normal enforcement process, according to the Journal. A 2019 internal review found widespread favoritism in the whitelisting practices, which the review called “not publicly defensible.”
“The thought of Facebook clandestinely manipulating elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic,” DeSantis said. “We the people have the right to choose our representatives, whether or not Silicon Valley approves.”
And DeSantis wasn’t just making a one-day drive by media hit. “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 said in the letter to Florida Secretary of State Lee.
Bringing Big Tech to heel has been a signature DeSantis issue, championing legislation during the 2021 Florida legislative session that, among other things, instituted fines of between $25,000 and $250,000 on social media companies that ban — or deplatformed — political candidates. The GOP-led Florida Legislature approved the social media legislation in the wake of Facebook and other social media companies removing former President Donald Trump from their platforms.
Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for the governor, said the push to investigate Facebook has “nothing to do” with the new law.
“We do not know where exactly this alleged electioneering occurred, and the scope is known only to Facebook,” she said according to a report by POLITICO’s Matt Dixon. “That’s why Governor DeSantis ordered this investigation. If Facebook’s double standards amounted to interference in state and local races, then Floridians deserve to know the extent.”
Time and again, the documents reported by the Wall Street Journal show, in the U.S. and overseas, Facebook’s own researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects, in areas including teen mental health, political discourse and human trafficking. Time and again, despite Congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them.
Indeed, when Facebook speaks publicly about many of these issues, to lawmakers, regulators and, in the case of XCheck, its own Oversight Board, it often provides misleading or partial answers, masking how much it knows – or in the case of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress outright lies.
Yet, Congress and various government agencies with oversight powers have done nothing – leaving it to Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis to confront, and hopefully rein-in the heretofore unaccountable social media Leviathan.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 patients
Big Tech censorship
Secretary of State Laurel Lee