Judge blocks Florida law that bans candidates on Twitter and Facebook

A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday blocked the state from enforcing key parts of a new law that makes social media companies like Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. potentially liable for censoring political candidates, the media and other users. .

Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee issued an injunction against the law hours before it took effect. In a 31-page opinion, he said the statute’s restrictions on content removal and its liability provisions likely violate the First Amendment and conflict with federal law.

He refused to stop another part of the law that allows state authorities to exclude a social media company from state government contracts if it is charged with an antitrust violation. Judge Hinkle said the provision raised legal problems but did not pose an immediate threat to Internet companies that would justify an emergency intervention.

The legislation, which was signed by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in May, prohibits social media sites from banning any candidate from running for public office in Florida, and subjects violators to fines of up to 250,000. dollars a day. It also prevents sites from censoring “news companies” based on their content and gives Florida residents the ability to sue and recover legal and punitive damages against companies that do not consistently apply their content standards. The law left the imposed consistency standard undefined.

In an unusual exception, the state exempts companies that own and operate a theme park.

Source: WSJ

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