Trump calls on states to ‘punish’ big tech with sanctions if they ‘silence conservative voices’

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ORLANDO, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Former President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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During his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, former President Donald Trump encouraged states to “punish” big tech if they “silence conservative voices.”

Trump spoke on the final day of CPAC in Orlando, Florida. It was his first public speech since leaving the White House last month.

“All of the election integrity measures in the world will mean nothing if we don’t have free speech,” Trump said. “If republicans can be censored for speaking the truth and calling out corruption, we will not have democracy and we will only have left-wing tyranny.”

Trump has frequently accused tech companies of censorship over his removal from both Facebook and Twitter for violating their policies.

“The time has come to break up big tech monopolies and restore fair competition,” Trump said, adding that section 230 – a piece of internet legislation passed into law as part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 – must be repealed.

Section 230 gives websites the ability to regulate the content that appears on their platforms. It also protects sites from being legally liable for content shared by users.

“If the federal government refuses to act then every state in the union where we have the votes — which is a lot of them — big tech giants like Twitter, Google, and Facebook should be punished with major sanctions whenever they silence conservative voices,” Trump said.

Trump cited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who announced new proposals earlier this month aimed at social media companies. One proposal aims to block the suspension of accounts of political candidates and would impose fines for each day said account is blocked.

It’s unclear if the state would have the authority to enforce such laws, the Associated Press reported.

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