Judge blocks Florida social media law
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a Florida social media law that would have fined companies for kicking politicians off their platforms.
District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida issued a preliminary injunction on Wednesday to stop the law from going into effect on Thursday, The Washington Post reported.
Hinkle issued the injunction as he believes the law will be found unconstitutional.
“The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Hinkle wrote. “There is nothing that could be severed and survive.”
Tech trade groups sued the state after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law that would fine companies $250,000 a day for banning statewide politicians from their platforms and $25,000 a day for other politicians.
NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) sued the state, saying the law violates the First Amendment and freedom of speech.
“Rather than preventing what it calls ‘censorship,’ the Act does the exact opposite: it empowers government officials in Florida to police the protected editorial judgment of online businesses that the State disfavors and whose perceived political viewpoints it wishes to punish,” the complaint from the companies says.
The bill made it through the GOP legislature and was initiated after social media platforms banned former President Trump for his rhetoric.
DeSantis defended the bill and said it is being used to hold “Big Tech” accountable.
“We’re basically advancing a state consumer fraud theory. You know, they’re advertising certain things, they have certain service terms. They’re not abiding by that. That is a fraud on the public. So we think that that will be upheld, but we absolutely anticipate litigation,” DeSantis said after the bill was passed.
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