Content Moderation

07/01/2021

Judge blocks Florida law aimed at punishing social media

Carl Szabo
Carl Szabo Vice President and General Counsel

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle granted a temporary injunction late Wednesday, siding with Silicon Valley interests over the law (SB 7072), promoted by legislative Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis. The injunction comes following a hearing Monday, one of the first battles in a lawsuit filed by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoice.

The law, which would have kicked in at midnight, would require social media companies to post their terms of service with standards for handling issues like censoring, deplatforming and blocking users, and apply the standards consistently.

DeSantis signed and promoted the measure as protections for users’ speech, arguing social media disproportionately punishes conservatives. CCIA and NetChoice filed a lawsuit last month arguing the law instead violates the tech corporations’ rights to free speech.

The preliminary injunction stops the law from taking effect while the state and tech groups litigate the bill.

NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo celebrated the injunction in a statement. NetChoice and CCIA are two Washington-based internet interest lobbying associations that partner with Twitter, Google and others.

“When the State’s own lawyers can’t explain how the law works or even identify to whom it applies, there’s just no way that Florida’s enforcement of that law would keep users, creators, and advertisers safe from the tidal wave of offensive content and hate speech that would surely ensue,” Szabo said.

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