(Miami) A federal judge in extreme cases blocked a Florida law to prevent social networks from suspending content posted by political candidates, saying the measure was “completely contrary to accepted constitutional principles” of free speech.
In a ruling issued Wednesday evening, Judge Robert Hinkle believes that the law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which was due to go into effect Thursday, distorts the principle of protecting free speech by imposing certain restrictions on moderation in content.
The text was adopted in particular as a response to Twitter and Facebook’s firing of former President Donald Trump, which some have criticized as an attack on conservatives.
But for the judge, the law only provides vague definitions of the platforms involved and nullifies the idea of protecting freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
The First Amendment does not limit the rights of private entities that do not perform traditional public service functions […] ’,” the judge wrote in his 31-page decision.
He believes the law is “aimed at curbing providers of social networking services that are too important and too liberal”. But “balancing the exchange of ideas between private actors is not in the government’s interest.”
Law SB 7072, which was to enter into force on 1he is July, it included fines of up to $250,000 per day for platforms that bar a candidate for state office.
The legislation also allowed Florida residents who felt “unfairly treated” by tech companies to sue for financial compensation.
For Matt Schroers of the CCIA’s tech giants lobby, who has called for the bill to be rejected, the decision is “encouraging”.
He said the law passed by Florida was “unusually broad, intended to punish private companies for what is seen as a disrespect for the government’s political ideology.”