ORLANDO (Florida) -- The annual Conservative Political Action Conference began Thursday after Russia launched attacks against Ukraine. However, many Republican leaders took to the Orlando stage to discuss Big Tech.
Russian missiles attacked Europe's country. Republican senators, an ex-Trump adviser, and a sitting Governor all discussed major social media companies. They also praised the possibility of a "parallel economic" that is beginning to emerge in the form new social media platforms such as the Truth Social.
Republicans have found the focus on Big Tech to be a powerful rallying point as they head into a critical midterm election campaign. This is because of the constant drumbeat of suspensions of conservative commentators and influencers from major tech platforms, including Trump’s 2021 suspension from Twitter and Facebook.
When it came time to discuss their feelings on major tech companies, conservatives weren't afraid to speak out.
After condemning GoFundMe’s decision prohibiting donations to the Canadian Freedom Convoy, Senator Ted Cruz, R.Texas, encouraged Republicans "break Big Tech into a million small pieces" as part of a wider polemic against monopolies.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated to the audience that "Big Tech" is now the top institution for censorship.
Kimberly Guilfoyle is a former Trump advisor and Donald Trump Jr.'s Partner. compared Chinese censorship to social media moderation.
She said, "What is the difference between being punished by China for having the wrong views and Big Tech companies silence you for being conservative?"
Guilfoyle, along with other attendees, felt that Trump's ban on Twitter and Facebook was a turning point.
"Every major social network banned Donald Trump last year. Guilfoyle stated that if the current president can be blocked on social media, then no one is safe.
The crop of alternative platforms, which could be seen and heard all over the conference, were just as prevalent as the attacks against Big Tech.
Guilfoyle stated that "Twitter or Facebook aren’t the only thing,” "Now, we have President Trump’s new Truth Social. Register now, jump up and enjoy freedom of expression.
Trump's app was launched Feb. 20, but it has not been able to accommodate all the people who downloaded the app.
Erik Finman, a technologist who made millions using bitcoin as a teenager and was the founder of the alternative Freedom Phone encouraged the audience to participate in the "parallel economics" of other platforms to counter Big Tech companies.
He stated, "The only way to fight is not having the same technology but better technology they can't touch."
Gettr, the social media app developed by Jason Miller, an ex-Trump adviser, was a prominent presence at the conference. There were prominent sponsorship signs on the main speaker stage as well as throughout the conference space.
Kaelan Dorr is the marketing manager at Gettr and stated to NBC News that he believes people are just looking for places where they feel connected and can be themselves.
He said, "It's about just kinda fostering a community." "Conservatives need to have their own safe space, right?"