Gov. Ron DeSantis has directed Florida’s secretary of state to open an investigation into whether Facebook violated the state’s election laws through its program that allegedly exempts certain high-profile users from moderation.
The Republican governor in his letter (pdf) to Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee on Monday cited a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, published earlier this month, that alleges the social media company’s “XCheck” program has given millions of celebrities, politicians and other high-profile users preferential treatment.
These users are exempt from some or all of the Big Tech company’s rules, the WSJ report found, noting that it placed on a “whitelist” certain politicians—but not every candidate.
“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 WSJ reported. “The discrepancy was most prevalent in state and local races, the documents show, and employees worried Facebook could be subject to accusations of favoritism.”
A Facebook spokesperson told the news outlet that it had addressed the problem.
“It’s no secret that Big Tech censors have long enforced their own rules inconsistently,” DeSantis said in a statement on Monday, directing Lee to probe the matter. “If this new report is true, Facebook has violated Florida law to put its thumb on the scale of numerous state and local races,” he said.
“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 Republican governor directed Lee’s office to use all legal means to uncover any violations committed by Facebook, including but not limited to, issuing subpoenas, conducting witness interviews, reviewing all available information, and consulting with law enforcement.
DeSantis added, “The thought of technology companies clandestinely manipulating elections is an affront to the basic principles of our republic. Floridians deserve to have faith that their elections are fair and free from intrusion by Big Tech monopolies like Facebook.”
This is an excerpt from The Epoch Times.
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