Speed Reads

blocked

Federal judge blocks Florida law regulating how tech companies moderate speech

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a Florida law set to go into effect on Thursday that would fine social media companies that ban political candidates for violating their rules of conduct.

The law, signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in May, was passed in response to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook banning and suspending former President Donald Trump for his comments amid the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Almost immediately after DeSantis signed the law, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which represents Google, Amazon, and Facebook, filed a suit to block it.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said the law "compels providers to host speech that violates their standards. Like prior First Amendment restrictions, this is an instance of burning the house to roast a pig." He added that the "plaintiffs say, in effect, that they should be treated like any other speaker. The state says, in contrast, that social media providers are more like common carriers, transporting information from one person to another much as a train transports people or products from one city to another. The truth is in the middle."

CCIA President Matt Schruers said in a statement that the Florida statute "is an extraordinary overreach, designed to penalize private businesses for their perceived lack of deference to the government's political ideology. The court's ruling is a win for internet users and the First Amendment."