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CFO Patronis: Florida Will Bar Taxpayer Support of Media Censorship Companies

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Contact: Office of Communications,, 850.413.2842

CFO Patronis: Florida Will Bar Taxpayer Support of Media Censorship Companies

Tallahassee, Fla – Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis announced the filing of HB 939, a Consumer Protection bill that, among other items, bars state agencies from contracting with censorship companies like NewsGuard, which is a self-described media monitoring, technology company. The Legislation mimics that of proposed federal legislation aimed at prohibiting the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) from using the NewsGuard tool to blacklist publications.

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis said, “We’ve got state agencies throughout Florida trying to reach the public to provide critical services, and we need to make sure advertisers who partner with the state are doing their very best to reach the specific groups. NewsGuard’s technology, however, is working its way into the advertising world, and effectively blacklisting media outlets who don’t measure up to their ratings. The impacts are two-fold: companies and governments who want to reach certain groups may never have the ability to because certain news outlets, especially Conservative ones, will be eliminated from consideration based on NewsGuard’s input. Second, now we’ve got government dollars being used to affect certain narratives. This is a new dystopian landscape where we’ve got big government, partnering with big business, in using NewsGuard to punish those that don’t parrot the government’s narrative. That’s not the way any of this should work, and I don’t want a single penny of Florida taxpayer money being used to subsidize garbage.”

The filing of the Consumer Protection legislation makes good on the CFO’s commitment to hold censorship companies accountable that target Florida businesses. In addition to the CFO’s efforts, the use of systems like NewsGuard has faced an onslaught of pushback from organizations. This month, a lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Department of State for its partnership with NewsGuard, which uses a censorship tool called “Misinformation Fingerprints.” The tool reportedly “fact-checks” news stories and designates a “risk of harm” rating. Another suit has been filed against the U.S. DoD for NewsGuard’s partnership with the Pentagon’s Cyber Security unit to flag information related to the Ukraine-Russian conflict.


About CFO Jimmy Patronis

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).

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