- Florida lawmakers approved the law after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube suspended Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
- The technology industry challenged the law, which was set to take effect Thursday, saying it would infringe on the First Amendment rights of online businesses.
Florida lawmakers approved the law after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube suspended Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
It was signed in May by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally and possible 2024 presidential candidate who championed the law as a needed crackdown on the unbridled power of social media companies.
A spokeswoman said DeSantis planned to appeal.
“We are disappointed by Judge Hinkle’s ruling and disagree with his determination that the U.S. Constitution protects Big Tech’s censorship of certain individuals and content over others,” press secretary Christina Pushaw said in a statement. “Gov. DeSantis continues to fight for freedom of speech and against Big Tech’s discriminatory censorship.”
- Under the law, the state would be able to fine large social media companies $250,000 a day if they removed an account of a statewide political candidate and $25,000 a day if they removed the account of someone seeking local office. It also would require social media companies to notify users within seven days that they could be censored, giving them time to correct posts.
Two technology trade groups, NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association, claimed Florida was attempting to censor free speech and expression by compelling social media companies to host speech and speakers they disagree with.
Their lawsuit alleged Florida’s new law was a “blatant attack” on the content moderation choices social media companies make daily to protect the public and advertisers from pornography, terrorist incitement, false propaganda spread by foreign actors, calls for genocide or race-based violence, COVID-19 vaccines disinformation, fraudulent schemes and other harmful, offensive or illegal material.
- A federal judge blocked a law in Florida Wednesday night that would punish social media companies for prohibiting politicians from speaking. Wing views.
In his ruling, District Judge for the Northern District of Florida Robert Hinkle said the law that would have required the social media company to allow expression, even if it violated its rules, would likely be considered unconstitutional.
The tech industry called for the bill, which was due to take effect Thursday, saying it would violate the First Amendment rights of online businesses.
“Plaintiffs are likely to prevail over their allegations that these laws violate the First Amendment,” Hinkle wrote. “There is nothing that can be cut and survived.”
“The United States court system is designed to protect our constitutional rights, and today’s decision is no different to ensure that politically motivated Florida law not only forces Floridians to endure racist last names, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings or other cruel, almost Internet content, “said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice, in a statement.
Legal experts also questioned the viability of the law.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that publishers are free to choose what content to publish, and the bill is blatantly trying to take that freedom away from publishers,” he said. “Floridians should expect better from their legislators, and now they see their tax money being spent defending an unsustainable bill that should never have passed.”