May 24, 2021

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an anti-Big Tech bill on Monday that would stop social media companies from kicking users off their platforms and prevent online censorship."

"The legislation... would make it illegal to ban state political candidates from Facebook and Twitter and would dole out penalties of $250,000 a day on social media companies for any statewide candidate who is removed from a platform. De-platforming more local candidates would incur a fee of $25,000 a day. The bill also forces social media giants to give users notice seven days before they are likely to be banned and give them a chance to change their behavior and resolve the issue on the platform.... Some critics, including conservatives, say the Florida bill is unconstitutional...."

The Washington Examiner reports. 

It will be interesting to see this litigated. I am not going to attempt to lay out the legal arguments. I don't even want to say which side I hope will win. I'm strongly opposed to the censorship, but this is complicated, and I haven't studied the legislation. Read it here

ADDED: Here's some detail from the article in Florida Politics:

Spring Hill Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, the House bill sponsor, called the legislation a consumer protection measure. “(We) do not think that a handful of kids behind some desks in Silicon Valley get to be the arbiter of what free speech is,” he said.

Some lawmakers, mostly Democrats, have questioned whether the measure is constitutional because it would compel companies to host speech....

Social media platforms have become monopolies stronger than those of the earlier 20th century, DeSantis said, and are now a part of the public square. Moreover, he argued the Founding Fathers couldn’t have foreseen the need to protect speech from private companies. Immediately following the insurrection, tech companies rallied against a rightwing Twitter alternative, Parler, pulled it from app stores and restricted the companies’ business operations. The Governor likened Parler, which has more than 20 million total users, to someone running a small business. “If someone in Silicon Valley doesn’t like you, then they can work together and just wipe you off?” DeSantis continued. “That’s people’s livelihoods that are at stake. Those are people’s businesses and ultimately people’s jobs that are at stake.”

1 comment:

Ann Althouse said...

Tim writes:

"I am trying to decide how, if at all, this is different from the old Public Service Commission we used to have in Tennessee which regulated phone companies, utility companies, and cable companies before the Legislature decided it was unnecessary because of the robust competition and disbanded it in the 80s. Arguably, there is no competition for Twitter, Facebook, or Amazon. Why would the state not step in to regulate effective monopolies? The individual states certainly have the power to regulate businesses to protect their citizens. I think the tech conglomerates might get themselves a big surprise here....and if it is upheld in Florida, at least half the country would follow suit fast."