Social media companies would be unable to permanently kick people off their platforms under a tough new Florida law.
The bill, passed by the GOP-dominated state Legislature Thursday and awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature, would make it a crime to remove state political candidates from Twitter and Facebook, and would mete out penalties of $250,000 a day for any statewide candidate who is deplatformed.
Removing more local candidates would cost the company $25,000 a day.
The bill also requires tech companies to give users seven days notice that they are at risk of being banned and offer them the opportunity to correct the issue. Suspensions of up to 14 days would still be allowed.
“What this bill is about is sending a loud message to Silicon Valley that they are not the absolute arbiters of truth,” GOP state Rep. John Snyder said Wednesday, NBC News reported. “What this bill does is send a loud message that the Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected.”
Big tech advocacy groups have struck back saying the law would violate their First Amendment right to decide who can participate on their platforms.
“This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host antisemitic, racist, and hateful content.” Carl Szabo, vice-president of trade group NetChoice told USA TODAY. “Content moderation is crucial to an internet that is safe and valuable for families and Floridian small businesses, but this bill would undermine this important ecosystem.”