Big tech censorship bill could be stalled before it goes into effect
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) – Florida’s new social media censorship law could be blocked before it even goes into effect.
NetChoice, the group suing on behalf of the internet giants, has asked a federal judge to stay the law as their lawsuit goes to court.
NetChoice hopes that a federal judge will pass the social media censorship law before it goes into effect on July 1.
“This is a government-imposed speech,” said Carl Zsabo, vice president and general counsel of NetChoice.
Zsabo argued that tech companies would immediately lose advertisers and users if they were deprived of the ability to control their platforms.
“Look at some of the boycotts you’ve seen in the past when there was obnoxious content alongside advertisers’ products,” Zsabo said.
The question at the heart of the matter is whether the First Amendment rights of tech companies are being violated by new state law.
“The government can’t come and tell your network what kind of news to cover, what kinds of stories to promote,” Zsabo said. “And likewise, he can’t come in and tell private companies like Facebook, YouTube, Etsy, or Reddit what kind of content they need to host.”
The governor and other Republicans have argued that Big Tech’s inconsistent censorship undermines the free speech rights of Floridians.
“We want them to treat Floridians equally and give all of our Florida citizens the opportunity to participate in the new virtual public square,” said State Senator Ray Rodriguez, sponsor of the bill. , in an interview in May.
The governor’s office declined to comment specifically on the ongoing lawsuit, but sent us a statement on the law itself saying in part: “It is recognized that the government has a role to play in protecting consumers from discrimination. and deceptive / unfair business practices, and this law is within that authority to subdue a powerful entity that overrides the free speech rights of individuals.
Zsabo acknowledged the difficulties that tech giants face when trying to apply their community standards uniformly.
He also sympathized with the frustration the Tories felt over the matter, but said that if a user is wrongly misrepresented even without the new state law, the state attorney general already has the option to sue in her name.