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DeSantis signs bill to fine tech companies for banning politicians

NetChoice, a trade group for internet companies, slammed the signing of the bill.

“The First Amendment prohibits the government from compelling or controlling speech on private websites,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said in a statement. “If this law could somehow be enforced, it would allow lawful but awful user posts including pornography, violence, and hate speech that will make it harder for families to safely navigate online.”

“By forcing websites to host speech, this bill takes us closer to a state-run internet where the government can cherry pick winners and losers,” Szabo added.

Szabo also noted the bill’s exception put in place that protects any enforcement for Disney. The company’s Orlando theme park notably brings in significant tax revenue for the state.

The bill has an exemption for any internet search engine or software provider operated by “a company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex.” Florida Rep. Blaise Ingoglia (R) reportedly said the exemption was put in place to ensure that the Disney Plus streaming service “isn’t caught up in this.”

“By carving out companies like Disney and Universal, Florida’s legislature revealed its anti-tech fervor and true intent to punish social media for allegations of anti-conservative bias,” Szabo said.