Indiana AG investigating big tech companies for alleged 2019 meeting on censorship that included Al Sharpton

INDIANAPOLIS, IN– On Friday, May 14th, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita appeared on FNC’s “Fox & Friends First” and discussed his investigation into MSNBC’S Al Sharpton and others for participating in an October 2019 meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives about censoring issues. 

He stated that he wants to find out of Facebook and other big tech companies are “violating any of Indiana’s consumer protection laws” by censoring information. He said:

“It’s an honest investigation trying to find out exactly what these people’s intent was, why were they meeting, why were they specifically, allegedly, discussing censoring information from users.”

He added:

“And we want to find out if they are violating any of Indiana’s consumer protection laws. You know, if a car dealer kept information from a consumer about the product they were displaying or selling, they would be in violation of Indiana’s laws. Well, so may Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the rest of them. Twitter.”

He continued:

“We’ve learned that there was a meeting, a dinner, not only with Vanita [Gupta] and these executives from five tech companies, but also Al Sharpton, members of the NAACP and the Urban League where the topic was specifically requesting these companies to keep information from consumers.”

He stated:

“And you can have a commercial transaction where you keep information from consumers like when Amazon took the transgender book off the shelf…but also as consumers, we process and digest political information.

And this meeting what about keeping political information from consumers. And in a free republic like the United States, that’s important, so we make the right decisions for electing our leaders.”

According to reports, Rokita announced that civil investigative demands have been sent to eight additional attendees of the Facebook meeting in 2019 as part of an ongoing investigation into censorship practices by big tech companies. 

The latest civil investigative demands apply specifically to Facebook and are directed to people believed to have participated in the 2019 meeting with Zuckerberg. According to a release from Rokita’s office, those eight are:

Al Sharpton- founder/president of National Action Network;

Kristen Clarke- former leader of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law;

Rashad Robinson- president of Color of Change;

Farhana Khera- president/executive director of Muslim Advocates;

Derrick Johnson- president/CEP of the NAACP;

Sherrilyn Ifill- president/director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund;

Marc Morial- president/CEO of the National Urban League; and

Janet Murguia- president/CEO of UnidosUS

The eight individuals are not themselves targets of Rokita’s investigation, but are believed to have relevant information about what was discussed with Facebook leaders.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who at the time was leading The Leadership Conference, was also reportedly at the 2019 meeting. At the meeting, Gupta and others urged Facebook to adopt “more rigorous rules and enforcement.”

Rokita’s office already served a civil investigative demand to Gupta at the same time it launched its investigation into the big tech companies in April. Like the other eight individuals, Gupta is not herself a target of Rokita’s investigation.

Rokita’s goal in filling the demands will be to ascertain whether any of the five companies have potentially harmed Indiana consumers through “business practices that are abusive, deceptive, and/or unfair.” Rokita said:

“In a free society, few assets are more important to consumers than access to information and the opportunity to express political viewpoints in meaningful forums. Hoosiers deserve to have a robust and open debate on the issues we’re confronting and Big Tech shouldn’t get in the way by acting as arbiters of truth. When it happens, it chips away at our individual liberties.”

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Florida Senate passes bill that will fine big tech companies for censoring, de-platforming people – up to $100k per day!

May 4th, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida legislators are pushing to crack down on big tech companies like Twitter and Facebook, with the Senate recently passing a bill that will now fine social media companies if they de-platform statewide candidates with fines of up to $100,000 per day.

According to reports, since Twitter removed former President Donald Trump following the January 6th riots at the U.S. Capitol, GOP lawmakers in Florida are doing what they can on the state level to fight back against big tech censorship. 

Florida State Senator Kelli Stargel said in a statement:

“They were able to take a whole segment of free press away and say, ‘we don’t wanna hear those words. We don’t wanna hear that speech and we’re going to de-platform you.’ This bill fixes that problem.”

Opposing Democrats say that this legislation is a “slippery slope” as it involves the government mandating what private companies are required to publish.

Benjamin Priester, a professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, said that big tech companies will be able to fight this legislation legally because the federal government typically regulates companies that go from state to state.

He added:

“There are some federal statutes that govern social media companies and there’s a doctrine in federal law called preemption that requires states to comply not just with the federal constitution, but federal statutes that govern a relevant area.”

He proceeded to point out a recent comment by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who speculated that the high court should revisit First Amendment principles on social media and whether social media should be considered a common carrier, like airlines or shipping companies that are required to service all customers.

Priester said:

“A common carrier like Fedex or UPS, they don’t have discretion under the law to choose to reject certain packages and reject others. If you pay Fedex to ship the box, they have to ship it.”

The legislation has been approved by the Florida Senate. However, it is still awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature. The New York Post reported that if signed by DeSantis, it would be a crime to remove state political candidates from Twitter and Facebook and hand out penalties of $250,000 a day for any statewide candidate who is de-platformed. 

The bill also requires tech companies to give users seven day notice that they are at risk of being banned and offer the the opportunity to correct the issue. Suspensions of up to 14 days would still be allowed and removing local candidates could end up costing the big tech company $25,000 per day.

GOP state Rep. John Snyder said in a statement on Wednesday, April 28th:

“What this bill is about is sending a loud message to Silicon Valley that they are not the absolute arbiters of truth. What this bill does is send a loud message that the Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected.”

Big tech companies have fired back stating that the law would violate their First Amendment right to decide who can participate on their platforms.

The proposed legislation, SB 7072, that is on its way to DeSantis’ desk, will ban social media companies from “de-platforming,” “shadow banning,” and “censoring” its users.

The legislation defines “shadow ban” as:

“Action by a social media platform, through any means, whether the action is determined by a natural person or an algorithm, to limit or eliminate the exposure of a user or content or material posted by a user to other users of the social media platform. This term includes acts of shadow banning by a social media platform which are not readily apparent to a user.”

To “censor” is defined by the bill as:

“Any action take by a social media platform to delete, regulate, restrict, edit, alter, inhibit the publication or republication of, suspect a right to post, remove, or post an addendum to any content or material posted by a user. The term also includes actions to inhibit the ability of a user to be viewable by or to interact with another user of the social media platform.”

The term “de-platform” is defined by the bill as:

“Any action or practice by a social media platform to permanently delete or ban a user or to temporarily delete or ban a user from the social media platform for more than 14 days.”

In April, YouTube censored a live-streamed roundtable discussion hosted by DeSantis with medical and scientific experts evaluating the impacts of lockdowns and shutdowns ostensibly issued as public health measures to combat coronavirus transmission.

DeSantis was joined by the co-authors of the “Great Barrington Declaration,” including Harvard professor of medicine Martin Kulldorff, Oxford professor if epidemiology Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford professor of medicine and epidemiologist Jay Bhattacharya.

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Angel Families in Florida call out Biden and his ‘sanctuary country orders’: ‘Illegal immigration is no joke’

April 5th, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, FL– Angel Families in Florida have called out President Joe Biden for his “sanctuary country” orders that have gutted U.S. interior immigration enforcement.

According to reports, in February, top officials at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced sanctuary country orders that prevent agents from arresting and deporting nearly nine out of 10 illegal immigrants who would otherwise be deported. 

The new guidance from acting ICE Director Tae Johnson instructs agents not to pursue illegal immigrants for arrest and deportation until they have been convicted of aggravated felonies against Americans.

These aggravated felonies include crimes such as rape, murder, child pornography, sexual abuse of a minor, trafficking firearms, and theft.

Should ICE agents try to arrest an illegal immigrant who is not a convicted aggravated felon or a known or suspect terrorist or gang member, they must first get approval through the chain of command process where a field director or special agent in charge green-lights the effort.

https://twitter.com/LadyIld/status/1199330654741250049

Angel Mom Kiyan Michael, whose 21-year-old son Brandon was killed in 2007 by a twice-deported illegal immigrant, said that illegal immigration is “no joke” and noted the real-life impact that American families face when their loved ones are the victims of illegal immigrant crime. Michael said:

“They talk about the separation of children, but real separation is having to go to the cemetery and look at your child. That’s the only way you can visit them. He’ll never come home. Our children are not coming back.”

Michael added:

“Our son, Brandon Randolph Michael, 21-years-old and we live in Jacksonville, Florida. So, he’s on his lunch break going to cash his paycheck, just like every other kid, young man. Engaged to be married, he had his whole life ahead of him when a twice-deported illegal crashed into our son.”

She continued:

“Just weeks prior, he had been stopped by our local law enforcement, they found him to be driving without a driver’s license and they just let him go. They released him back into our community.”

Michael kept going:

“What this administration doesn’t realize is that this is not a joke. These are human beings. Without borders, we are not a nation. Nations define who we are. It defines our destiny. It protects our people. When we go to bed at night, we lock our doors to protect the people that we love on the inside.”

She concluded by stating:

“This is not about racism as they project it to be. I mean obviously, we’re talking about people that come from 53 different nations that look like everyone in this room. This is about Americans being safe. We’re grateful to you governor for protecting American citizens. You’re standing up, you’re fighting for our families.”

Angel Dad Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose 17-year-old son, Jamiel Shaw Jr., was murdered in cold blood in 2008 by an illegal immigrant gang member recently out of jail, told the store of his son’s case. 

https://twitter.com/neesietweets/status/1377971123871178757

Shaw Sr. described his son as an aspiring young athlete whose life was taken as a result of local authorities flouting federal immigration law. He said:

“March, 2, 2008, mu son was coming home from the mall and he was murdered. The illegal alien that murdered him already had three gun charges, assault with a deadly weapon and he was in jail the day before he murdered my son with assault with a deadly weapon, using a gun, battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest.”

Shaw Sr. continued:

“The illegal alien was only given eight months in the county jail and he was released in four months. The same day he got out, he was in my neighborhood and caught my son and shot him in the head. He shot him in his stomach and while he was on the ground with his hands up in the air, he shot him in his head. And he, of course, murdered him.”

He added:

“My son was playing football, he was getting recruited by Rutgers, West Virginia, Texas, he was three-time MVP, player of the year, he was running track. He knew where he was going, he was 17-years-old. While all of this was going on, his mother was on a second tour of duty in Iraq. Can you imagine?”

Governor Ron DeSantis said that potentially 50 criminal illegal immigrants in state prison could be released back into Florida communities this month thanks to Biden’s sanctuary country orders. Over the next six months, potentially 200 criminal illegal immigrants could be released.

To combat Biden’s orders, DeSantis has directed an illegal immigration crackdown in Florida where state agencies must report to local law enforcement whenever a criminal illegal immigrant is released in their community.

His directives mandate:

“State agencies to identify criminal illegal immigrants in prison and pursue all legal means available to transfer them to ICE custody upon completion of their Florida prison terms.”

_

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Author: Jenna Curren


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