Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has directed his Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee to investigate Facebook for their alleged election interference, accusing the big tech company of impacting state and local elections, calling the effort “an affront to the basic principles of our republic.”
“I hereby direct that your office immediately investigate this alleged election interference caused by Facebook through its whitelisting program – and any other previously undisclosed program within Facebook – in order to determine whether any violations of Florida’s election laws took place,” DeSantis said in a letter to Lee. “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.”
The comments from DeSantis came in response to a report from The Wall Street Journal, alleging that Facebook gave preferential treatment to elite users on the platform.
Here is an excerpt from the report:
While the program included most government officials, it didn’t include all candidates for public office, at times effectively granting incumbents in elections an advantage over challengers. The discrepancy was most prevalent in state and local races, the documents show, and employees worried Facebook could be subject to accusations of favoritism.
“It’s no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently,” DeSantis said in his statement. “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. That is why I am directing Secretary Lee to use all legal means to uncover violations of Florida’s election laws. The thought of Facebook clandestinely manipulating elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic. We the people have the right to choose our representatives, whether or not Silicon Valley approves.”
Read the rest of the press release from DeSantis below:
Internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal reveal the egregious double standard that Facebook applies to its users. While most people are subject to arbitrary censorship at the whims of so-called fact-checkers, Facebook grants select users the freedom to disregard the platform’s own community standards without the threat of enforcement action.
If the Wall Street Journal report is accurate, Facebook has created a privileged class of speakers and has empowered them to manipulate our elections with impunity. Even more disturbing, these elite users on Facebook’s “whitelist” were allegedly selected by the tech giant behind closed doors. The selection process, scope, and real-world influence of the whitelist is concealed from the public and known only to Facebook. If true, this process may have provided a benefit to incumbent elected politicians over their challengers in state and local elections.
Floridians deserve to have faith that their elections are free from Big Tech interference, and corporations like Facebook deserve to be held accountable for actions that erode the legitimacy of our institutions.
I am authorizing @FLSecofState and the Florida Department of State to open an investigation into Facebook’s alleged election interference through its whitelisting program.
Floridians deserve to know how much Big Tech has influenced our elections. pic.twitter.com/rmGmZ6BK6T
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) September 27, 2021
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