ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A Florida law designed to punish social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, bringing companies accused by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis to conservatives discriminate, a big win thought.
A three-judge panel from the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that telling social media companies how to make theirs was going too far for DeSantis and the Florida Republican-led Legislature to carry out work under the constitution’s guarantee of freedom of expression.
“Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government cannot tell an individual or a corporation what to say or how to say it,” District Judge Kevin Newsom, an aide for former President Donald Trump, said in the statement. “We think it’s highly likely that social media companies — even the largest ones — are private actors whose rights the First Amendment protects.”
That The ruling upholds a similar decision by a Florida federal district judge on that lawsigned by DeSantis in 2021. It was part of an overall conservative effort to portray social media companies as generally liberal in outlook and hostile to ideas outside of this view, particularly from the political right.
“Some of these giant, giant corporations in Silicon Valley wield a power over our population that really has no precedent in American history,” DeSantis said during a May 2021 bill signing ceremony ideas to be.”
The appellate panel disagreed, with Judge Newsom writing that Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and others “engage in constitutionally protected expression activities when they moderate and curate the content they distribute on their platforms.”
Emails from DeSantis’ press secretary or communications director regarding the ruling received no immediate response Monday afternoon. DeSantis is running for re-election this year and is eyeing a possible run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. He was the first governor to sign such legislation, although similar bills have been proposed in other states.
Associated Press writers Mark Sherman in Washington and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee contributed to this story.
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https://www.local10.com/business/2022/05/23/appeals-court-florida-law-on-social-media-unconstitutional/ Florida’s social media law unconstitutional