Groups representing Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google are suing Florida over Gov. DeSantis' new bill banning online 'deplatforming'

Advertisement
Groups representing Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google are suing Florida over Gov. DeSantis' new bill banning online 'deplatforming'
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
  • Two tech industry groups filed a lawsuit against a new bill signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • The lawsuit calls the bill - which bans "deplatforming" - a "smorgasbord of constitutional violations."
  • The groups that filed the suit count Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon as members.

Two industry groups that represent tech companies including Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon have filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida, claiming a new law that targets online speech violates the First Amendment.

The lawsuit was filed by Netchoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), and is aimed at a new bill signed last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The bill was signed on May 24, and was framed by DeSantis as protecting citizens from online censorship. The bill states it's designed to prohibit social media platforms from "willfully deplatforming" political candidates, and lets Florida fine a company $250,000 per day if it does "deplatform" someone.

Advertisement

The lawsuit describes DeSantis' bill as a "smorgasbord of constitutional violations" and argues it would make it impossible for tech companies to exercise their First Amendment rights by moderating their platforms for objectionable and harmful content.

The bill also lets Florida citizens sue tech companies for up to $100,000 if they believe companies are breaking the law.

The bill is set to go into effect on July 1, but the tech groups' lawsuit was filed on May 27, and seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions that would prevent the bill from coming into force.

Advertisement

"These unprecedented restrictions are a blatant attack on a wide range of content-moderation choices that these private companies have to make on a daily basis to protect their services, users, advertisers, and the public at large from a variety of harmful, offensive, or unlawful material," the lawsuit argues.

It also pointed to a bizarre loophole Florida included in the new bill, exempting companies that own Florida-based theme parks such as Disney from the law. The suit argued this was evidence that the bill unfairly targets specific companies.

Legal experts have also described the bill as unconstitutional. "This is so obviously unconstitutional, you wouldn't even put it on an exam," A. Michael Froomkin, a law professor at the University of Miami, told Wired.

Advertisement
{{}}