Florida's 'social media censorship' law temporarily blocked by federal judge

The law would have gone into effect July 1
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 23:59:29-04

STUART, Fla. — Florida’s ‘social media censoring’ bill has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.

The law would have let the state fine social media platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, if they censor or ban politicians or political candidates, and gives regular users the ability to sue a platform if they are removed without explanation.

The law would have gone into effect July 1.

Supporters of the law, including Representative John Snyder, said it was an effort to keep big tech companies from picking and choosing who gets a voice on their platforms.

“In the 21st century, social media really has become the new public square. It’s more than a place where people just communicate their feelings and share pictures. It really has turned into a place where people do business,” Snyder said. “What this bill does actually is protect free speech.”

When the bill was signed into law in May, Governor Ron DeSantis said, “If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

Virginia Hamrick is the Staff Attorney for the Florida First Amendment Foundation and feels it infringes upon free speech rights.

“It forced companies to carry speech that they may not agree with which is a violation of company’s first amendment rights,” Hamrick said.

A judge ruled that the law was an overreach, saying it compels providers to host speech that violates their standards.

“If it violates the company’s standards then they do have the ability to pick what speech is on their platform,” Hamrick said.

“Anytime you take a bold stand against Silicon Valley we anticipated there would be some moves from them to try to counter that,” Snyder said.

If the law is scrapped, Snyder said he would support trying again to get a similar law on the books in future sessions.

Governor Ron DeSantis also said he plans to immediately appeal the judge’s ruling.