Appeals Court Keeps Florida’s Social Media Censorship Law On Hold Due To 1st Amendment Concerns

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Choo Choo

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A Florida law prohibiting social media companies from “deplatforming” political candidates will remain blocked—even after a similar law in Texas was allowed to take effect—as a federal appeals court sided Monday with a lower court’s ruling against the law and ruled it’s “substantially likely” the policy violates the First Amendment.

BIG NUMBER

$250,000. That’s the daily fine social networks have to pay under the law if they “willfully deplatform” a candidate for statewide political office, along with a $25,000-per-day fine for other candidates.

KEY BACKGROUND

Florida first enacted its social media law in May 2021, in response to widespread criticism on the right arguing that big tech companies “silence” conservatives, after platforms like Facebook and Twitter banned President Donald Trump and other high-level Republican politicians. The law was widely expected to be subject to legal challenges, and a district court judge blocked the policy in July. Monday’s ruling comes after a different federal appeals court reinstated a similar law in Texas earlier in May. The 5th Circuit, which is known for being one of the most conservative-leaning appeals courts in the country, reversed a lower court ruling that halted Texas’ social media law without comment, allowing the law to once again take effect while the litigation moves forward.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Tech groups have asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on Texas’ social media law and decide whether or not it should stay in effect as the lawsuit against it moves forward. The court hasn’t yet weighed in on the issue, and a rul…

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