He claims that big tech padded a “woke mind virus” which needed to become more right-wing friendly or be broken up.
Big Tech behemoths are worse for society than Standard Oil and other monopolistic industry titans from the Gilded Age, he said.
He told an invite-only retreat at the ultra-conservative Teneo Network that Big Tech was too big and had too much power.
The Teneo Network is a new right-wing organisation claiming that it seeks to “crush liberal dominance” in Wall Street and Silicon Valley and was founded by Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo. It has already amassed a glowing list of prominent hard-right Republicans including Josh Hawley and Peter Thiel-blessed candidate J.D. Vance. Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro and the heads of the Republican Attorneys General Association are members.
DeSantis has been pushing a Digital Bill of Rights which would require search engines to disclose if they prioritise results based on politics. His deplatforming law, meanwhile, was recently deemed unconstitutional by a federal appeals court. If allowed to pass, the law could have led to Pandora’s box of unworkable internet speech laws across the country.
Republican lawmakers throughout the House and Senate have made clobbering Big Tech a major focal point for 2023, but the thrust of those attacks appears limited to a bizarre perception of conservatives being censored and picked on rather than structural, economic reforms.
Observers point out that DeSantis’ rage towards tech companies targets only companies that do not cheer for the GOP. Last year he pressured investment managers in charge of Florida pension funds to sell shares in the company to punish them for initially refusing billionaire Elon Musk’s attempted hostile takeover of the company. DeSantis came running to Musk’s defense when the Twitter owner suggested Apple could block the app from its App Store.