Poll: Florida voters support efforts to curb Big Tech’s influence

by | Apr 14, 2021



A poll sponsored by the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce shows that a majority of Florida voters support efforts to limit the power and influence of big tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon.

The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, found that 59 percent of Floridians statewide were in favor of cracking down on Silicon Valley. The survey also showed that 53 percent of Florida voters indicated they now have less freedom to speak their mind on the internet than they did five years ago. Additionally, 66 percent feel Facebook has too much power and influence in the marketplace and 62 percent say the same regarding Twitter.

This survey demonstrates voters agree with Governor Ron DeSantis’ legislative agenda which includes legislation (SB 7072) that would put guardrails on big tech companies to ensure free speech, a fair marketplace, and online transparency. The bill, which recently was submitted as a committee bill, prohibits social media platforms from de-platforming candidates for political office and would enable the Florida Elections Commission to fine a social media platform $100,000 per day for de-platforming statewide candidates and $10,000 per day for de-platforming all other candidates.

“Florida lawmakers are working to shift the balance of power back to consumers – and help to provide much-needed clarity regarding the specific standards, regulations and practices that impact our lives both online and offline,” said State Senator Ray Rodrigues, chair of the Governmental Oversight and Accountability committee

Distrust in Big Tech is also reflected by the fact that 72 percent of Florida voters believe these companies care more about their profits than they do about ensuring their customers are safe when using their services.

“For too long these big tech companies have dictated how we search, share and shop,” said Gerard Scimeca, attorney and vice president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy. “And as we have witnessed in recent months, they are quick to silence anyone who disagrees with their practices and approach.”

The Mason-Dixon poll comes on the heels of YouTube removing a video of DeSantis’ March roundtable, which included scientists and other panelists backing measures to combat censorship at the hands of Big Tech. The Governor described this as YouTube and its parent company, Google, stifling debate and short-circuiting scientific inquiry. Meanwhile, the platform also hosts conspiracy theory videos.

To that point, Florida voters embrace a series of proposed reforms to place checks on the power and influence of big tech companies. Statewide:

  • 60% of voters support requiring the publication of standards used to ban posts, de-platform and shadow ban users.
  • 67% support requiring equal access for established news organizations and qualified political candidates to reach users free from manipulation by algorithms.
  • 56% support stopping the process of arbitrarily censoring and de-platforming users.
  • 68% support giving users the power to completely opt-out of algorithms.

“Florida has the chance to set an example for Congress by enacting legislation in support of Governor DeSantis’ goal to put fair guardrails on big tech companies,” said Liliam “Lily” Lopez, president of the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “SB 7072 can establish both transparency and accountability to ensure a fair marketplace for all of Florida’s small businesses.”

This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon from April 5 through April 8, 2021. A total of 625 registered Florida voters were interviewed live by telephone statewide. The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than +/- 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed.

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