Federal judge blocks Florida law to punish social media companies
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a new Florida law that seeks to punish large social media companies like Facebook and Twitter if they remove content or ban politicians.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction preventing the application of the new law. The law – due to come into effect Thursday – allowed the state to fine large social media companies $ 250,000 per day if they delete a statewide political candidate’s account , and $ 25,000 per day if they deleted the account of a person who showed up for a local. Office.
The legislation was challenged in federal court in Tallahassee by NetChoice, a lobbying firm that represents Twitter, Facebook and other online companies, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association. Both claimed that the new law was unconstitutional and violated federal law.
The plaintiffs were likely to prevail over their claim that the new law violated the First Amendment if the case went to trial, Hinkle said.
Hinkle said the new law only targeted large social media companies, not smaller ones that provide the same services, and made exceptions for Disney and their apps by including that theme park owners would not. subject to the law. Walt Disney World outside of Orlando is one of the state’s largest private employers.
âThe law requires vendors to host speech that violates their standards – speech that they otherwise would not have welcomed – and prohibits vendors from speaking as they would otherwise,â Hinkle wrote.
When signing the bill in May, Governor Ron DeSantis said Silicon Valley companies wield unprecedented power over the American people.
“When you take down the US President‘s platform but let Ayatollah Khamenei talk about killing Jews, that’s wrong,” DeSantis said, referring to Donald Trump’s suspension from Twitter and Facebook .
“We are disappointed with Justice Hinkle’s ruling and disagree with his determination that the US Constitution protects Big Tech’s censorship of certain individuals and content on others,” DeSantis’ office said in a statement Wednesday evening. DeSantis’ statement went on to say that the state planned to “immediately appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.”