A A federal judge’s decision to block a recent Florida law that penalizes social media companies for shutting down politician posts could put the future of these bills at risk. In June, Governor Ron DeSantis passed a controversial bill who would punish tech companies for censoring politicians. The bill would be an important step in the fight against the “culture of cancellation” and the big tech monopoly on online communications.
The bill has also angered tech companies and legal analysts. The NetChoice technology trade group and the Computer and Communications Industry Association have filed a lawsuit against the Florida attorney general. Legal representatives of both trade associations argue that the bill limited the First Amendment rights of tech companies and was unconstitutional.
Now the bill was blocked by a federal judge days before it became law. In a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of the Northern District of Florida wrote that he found the bill unconstitutional. Hinkle berated state officials for claiming that they “were on the side of the First Amendment; the [social media companies] were not. It might be a good sound sample. But the assertion is totally at odds with accepted constitutional principles. Hinkle said that “the concentration of market power among the big social media providers does not change the principles governing the First Amendment. “
Hinkle then compared DeSantis’ new law to “burning the house to roast a pig” and said he believed the plaintiffs “are likely to override their claim that these laws violate the first amendment ”. The entire injunction should be seen as a thorough and thoughtful exploration of why the bill was “patently unconstitutional,” said Caitlin Vogus, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s free expression project.
NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association both found the court’s decision positive. “This decision enforcing the Constitution and federal law is encouraging”, wrote the president of the association, Matt Schruers. “This reaffirms what we said: Florida’s law is extraordinary overbreadth, designed to penalize private companies for their perceived disrespect for the political ideology of the government. The court ruling is a victory for Internet users and the First Amendment. “
It remains to be seen how this decision affects other states. While Florida’s bill has received the most attention, other states have attempted to pass similar bills. For example, the Texas Senate tried to pass a similar bill in March with the support of Gov. Greg Abbott, although it failed in the House. North Carolina and Louisiana also have similar bills in the books to come.
“I just don’t think any of these state-level politicians are capable of having the kind of discipline it takes to pass a narrow bill and not bring it to its knees with all this rhetoric. . ” This was argued by Corbin Barthold, Internet Policy Advisor at TechFreedom. “The purpose of the bill is to attack perceived political enemies, not to make substantial legal changes to the system,” Barthold argued that the bill performs better for politicians such as DeSantis and the burying in Republican talking points limits its viability. appealing at all to all Democratic or independent voters.
DeSantis has said he will attempt to appeal Hinkle’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, sparking a long string of court decisions. However, Barthold and Vogus rate the appeal’s chances of success as reasonably low.
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Original author: Christophe hutton
Original location: Federal judge blocked Florida’s new law targeting social media companies