JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new social media law took effect in Florida Friday. The law takes aim at social media companies silencing political candidates.
SB 7072 prohibits social media platforms from de-platforming a candidate for political office or journalistic enterprise. The new social media law signed by Gov. DeSantis is among many laws that went into effect on July 1.
The Florida Elections Commission will now keep a close eye on how Facebook, Youtube and Twitter moderate what’s being said by politicians online. Social media platforms can be fined over $200,000 dollars per day for suspending the accounts of candidates for statewide office and $25,000 per day for any other candidate.
Gov. DeSantis said Floridians would be “guaranteed protection against Silicon Valley elites.”
After Twitter and Facebook banned former president Donald Trump from the platform following the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, Florida created a law to regulate how social media companies moderate speech online.
News4JAX spoke with Jason Pratt, founder of the marketing and advertising agency Prattify, who said the internet is still considered the wild wild west.
“We’re going to see a lot of change. We’re going to see a lot of law. The fact that a ain’t tech company banned President Trump from the internet, from their platform, I should say ‘sorry, we knew that there’s going to be a lot of stuff to follow, for sure,’” Pratt said.
He said while the fines are a lot of money – tech giants have grown and are much different than media companies of the past. Although Pratt said he thinks it’s important to keep the internet as open as possible, he still calls the process a challenging predicament.
“We’re now in the infancy of the internet is certainly social media, where the law is now wanting to come in and change and censor things. It’s certainly always a challenging mark and a tough spot to be in with the balance of security and openness, keeping the internet and focus on its safety,” Pratt said. “Anytime you sign up for accounts, they have the user agreements. People typically don’t read them and sign off. Maybe if we had a sort of a bulleted point version of that for the Layperson to read and to feel comfortable with knowing what can get you kicked off that platform, that could be helpful.”
The new law also states that social media platforms must be clear about how and why they take down content or leave it up.
Pratt said this law is something social media companies are aware of and they will move forward with it in mind.