Florida’s new social media censorship bill blocked

FILE

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new Florida law aimed at social media companies was blocked by a federal judge just hours before it would have gone into effect.

The 57-page ruling found every part of the law likely violated the First Amendment.

Social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, would have been fined every day for violations under the law. If a company removed an account belonging to a state politician, they would have been fined $250,000. For local politicians, the fine would have been $25,000.

The judge said all of the requirements under the law likely violated social media companies’ First Amendment right to engage with their platforms.

“This ruling was great, not only for social media platforms, but for Florida citizens who don’t have to be subjected to a host of lawful, but awful content,” said Carl Szabo, vice president of NetChoice, the group that sued the state on behalf of tech companies.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said this move was expected.

“It will be appealed either way,” DeSantis said. “Whatever that disposition is, one that will either vindicate what we did, or potentially give us a road map. And say, okay if you don’t like what we did, what would we need to do to tweak it?”

The case will likely now go to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia.

The governor believes the bill will at some point head to the U.S. Supreme Court.