Judge blocks Florida law aimed at punishing social media

A federal judge has blocked a new law in Florida seeking to penalize large social media businesses such as Facebook and Twitter for removing content or banning politicians.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction blocking the new law from taking effect. The law — which was supposed to take effect Thursday — enables the state to fine large social media companies $250,000 a day if they delete a statewide political candidate’s account, and $25,000 a day if they don’t use a local account. Delete the account of a person running for The Office.

The judge in Tallahassee said some parts of the new law violate federal law.

It was intended only for large social media businesses, not smaller ones that provide similar services, and made exceptions for Disney and their apps, which would not have theme park owners subject to the law. Walt Disney World outside Orlando is one of the largest private employers in the state.

“The law forces providers to host speech that violates their standards – speech they would not otherwise host – and forbids providers to speak as they would otherwise,” Hinkle wrote.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office did not immediately comment.


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