A federal judge ruled that Florida would not be allowed to enforce a controversial law that would have enabled individuals to prosecute large tech companies over censorship.
The law — which the government’s Ron DeSantis signed into law in May, claiming it would protect free speech — would allow individuals to sue social media companies if they believe they are “wrongly censored.” ” Has been done.
Under the law, the state can also impose fines of thousands of dollars for each day that political candidates are suspended or banned.
The bill applies only to large social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter and includes an exemption for Internet platforms “operated by a company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex” – a provision that the critics said Companies like Disney and NBCUniversal were designed to placate companies that are vital to the state’s tourism sector.
In preliminary injunction Released Wednesday, Northern District of Florida Judge Robert L. Hinkle barred the state from implementing nearly all parts of the law, writing, “It is not a legitimate government interest to balance the exchange of views between private speakers.”
“[The law] discriminates on its face between otherwise similar speakers: between social-media providers that do or do not meet the size requirements of the law and are or are not in common ownership with a theme park,” Hinkle said. “The law does not escape strict scrutiny.”
Gov. DeSantis’ office told The Post that it would fight the decision.
“We plan to appeal immediately to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pusa said. “Government DeSantis continues to fight against free speech and discriminatory censorship of Big Tech.”
Wednesday’s injunction was prompted by a lawsuit filed just days after it was signed into law by two trade groups — NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association — that represent large tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon. Huh.
In a statement Wednesday, NetChoice vice president and general counsel Carl Szabo praised the decision.
“When the state’s own attorney cannot explain how the law works or even identify to whom it applies, Florida’s enforcement of that law may prevent users, creators, and Advertisers cannot be kept safe from the tidal wave of offensive content and hate speech that will ensue,” Szabo said. Statement.