Florida Governor Signs Bill Cracking Down on Social Media; Prohibits De-Platforming Floridians, Demands Moderation Transparency

Governor Ron DeSantis in Pensacola on May 21, 2021. File photo from past newscast.
Governor Ron DeSantis in Pensacola on May 21, 2021. All Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms will have the right to sue companies that violate this law. File photo from past newscast.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – According to a press release from the office of Ron DeSantis, the Florida Governor has signed a bill into law Monday – SB 7072 – that cracks down on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that prohibits the companies from de-platforming Floridian political candidates and demands transparency about their content moderation practices.

“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites,” DeSantis said in the release. “Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

Under the provisions of the law, according to the release:

  •  All Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms will have the right to sue companies that violate this law — and win monetary damages. This reform safeguards the rights of every Floridian by requiring social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies, which prevents Big Tech bureaucrats from “moving the goalposts” to silence viewpoints they don’t like.
  • The Attorney General of Florida can bring action against technology companies that violate this law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If social media platforms are found to have violated antitrust law, they will be restricted from contracting with any public entity. That “antitrust violator” blacklist imposes real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line.
  • Big Tech is prohibited from de-platforming Floridian political candidates. The Florida Election Commission will impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that de-platforms any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices. Any Floridian can block any candidate they don’t want to hear from, and that is a right that belongs to each citizen — it’s not for Big Tech companies to decide.

However, experts have questioned the legality of laws of this type and expect them to be successfully challenged in court, since the First Amendment only prohibits government censorship; private companies are not beholden to the First Amendment and are free to establish their own protocols regarding speech.

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