Florida social media content moderation law hits federal appeals court
The tech industry continues to battle Florida’s “social media censorship” law, on which a panel of federal appeals court judges recently heard argument.
A federal judge in Florida declared the law unconstitutional last year, and it is now on appeal.
the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and NetChoicetwo tech trade associations, filed the original lawsuit that blocked the law from going into effect and continue to lead the charge in the appeals court.
The organizations have successfully argued that the legislation is an unconstitutional violation of social media platforms‘ rights to free speech, equal protection and due process under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“When a digital service takes action against problematic content on its own site, whether it’s abuse, extremism or Russian propaganda, it’s exercising its own right to free speech,” he said. declared Matt Schruers, CCIA President. “By tying the hands of digital services to take action against this material, this law violates the Constitution and puts Floridians at risk.”
Other states have passed bills similar to Florida’s, including Texas.
Proponents say these regulations are necessary to protect internet users’ freedom of expression and prevent online censorship.
The CCIA and other opponents argue that the laws actually infringe on the free speech of social media companies as private companies – and as private entities, these companies should reserve the right to enforce the community guidelines agreed by their users.
They also warn that preventing social media companies from moderating content leaves users vulnerable to a surge of dangerous content from bad actors online, including those who engage in fraud or foreign adversaries doing promoting propaganda.
As the lawsuit continues, the CCIA and other opponents of the law insist Florida residents will pay the price. The litigation has already cost taxpayers nearly $700,000, according to records obtained by the CCIA.