The social media deplatforming law imposes a penalty of up to $250,000 per day each time it bans a political candidate.
Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a state’s social media deplatforming bill to make it into law. The governor proposed it in February to prevent tech companies from deplatforming politicians.
Social Media Deplatforming Law
This stops companies from banning politicians in Florida. This law gives the state’s Election Commission the ability to penalize social media up to $250,000 per day if it takes down public office candidates.
The law enables Florida residents to sue tech companies if they think that they are treated unjustly. Furthermore, these social media companies are obligated to explain why they forbid the social media user or the politician.
However, the law won’t penalize a social media platform that owns an entertainment venue in Florida. It ensures that Disney+ won’t be banned or penalized.
The law was partly a response to the social media companies banning against the former President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot.
The tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube believed that Trump broke the platforms’ rules by promoting violence.
Questioning Discrimination Against Social Media Companies
The social media deplatforming law would have taken effect on Thursday. However, a federal judge put it on hold.
This is clearly a win for social media companies that are trying to keep control of their apps.
US District Judge Robert Hinkle blocked the enforcement of the law. He said that the law’s banning violated the free speech rights of the tech companies.
Under the First Amendment, tech companies are free to decide what to publish on their platforms without the government interfering with it.
“The Governor’s signing statement and numerous remarks of legislators show rather clearly that the legislation is viewpoint-based. And parts contravene a federal statute. This order preliminarily enjoins enforcement of the parts of the legislation that are preempted or violate the First Amendment.” – Preliminary Injunction
The law states that a platform may not delete or ban a candidate for office. Under the law, suspending a politician for up to 14 days is allowed. The platform could also remove posts that violate its terms of service.
The judge questioned why the law is only applied to social media providers that don’t own common ownership with a theme park.
The ruling came in a suit filed by two industry trade groups with members include Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. The trade groups stated that the law brings closer to having a state-run Internet.
The lawmakers in Texas also considered passing a similar bill during their session. However, they didn’t pass it.
The office of Governor DeSantis stated that the ruling is a disappointment. The governor will continue to fight for freedom of speech but it will also fight against discriminatory censorship of Big Techs.
The governor stated before that the bill would provide Floridians the protection they need against those social media companies.
Social media companies didn’t comment yet on the ruling. But it’s definitely a huge win for them.