Facebook has taken heat from conservatives for years for allegedly giving preferential treatment to politically liberal voices. Now, the company faces a government investigation.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced an investigation into the company this week alleging Facebook interfered in several elections, and so far, Facebook has not publicly responded.
“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. 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.”
DeSantis’ office pointed to recent reporting by the Wall Street journal suggesting that Facebook gave preferential treatment to some elected leaders.
“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,” DeSantis’ office said. “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.”
DeSantis’ war against big tech ramped up earlier this year when a roundtable event he held on COVID was removed by YouTube.
“YouTube’s decision to remove the video of our previous roundtable is just another example of unabashed overreach and bias by Big Tech,” DeSantis said. “Silicon Valley and the corporate media have drawn a line in the sand: they don’t care about the facts. They only care about pushing their agenda and will do so by whatever means necessary, the truth be damned. That’s why we are taking action here in Florida to hold Big Tech accountable and call out their hypocrisy.”
Shares of Facebook were down 3.68% in midday markets at $340.51 per share.