Tech groups criticize Florida’s social media law as Unconstitutional.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill Monday aiming to punish social media companies for their moderation decisions. The law would fine Internet companies if they suspend political candidates in the run-up to elections. It also would also make it easier for the Florida state attorney general and individuals to bring lawsuits when they think tech companies have acted unfairly.
Legal experts say they expect to see lawsuits challenging the measure. Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School in California, described the bill as bad policy and warned that some of its provisions are “obviously unconstitutional” because they restrict the editorial discretion of online publishers. He said some aspects of the law also would be preempted by a federal Internet law known as Section 230 that shields Internet companies from lawsuits over posts, photos and other content shared on their services.
The Texas Senate has approved legislation like Florida’s that would prevent large tech companies from blocking or discriminating against users based on their viewpoints or location within Texas. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed support for that bill. North Carolina and Louisiana state lawmakers have introduced similar measures.
Florida lawmakers created a special exemption for companies that own theme parks, which could apply to websites operated by Disney. Disney World is a major Florida tourist attraction, while Comcast owns Universal Studios Florida.