Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday banning social media companies from “deplatforming” political candidates, CNN reports.
DeSantis at the bill signing accused a “council of censors” in Silicon Valley of stifling debate over coronavirus lockdowns and the virus’ origins.
"I would say those lockdowns have ruined millions of people's lives all around this country," DeSantis said. "Wouldn't it have been good to have a full debate on that in our public square? But that was not what Silicon Valley wanted to do."
The bill bans tech companies from suspending or banning political candidates in the state and imposes a fine of up to $250,000 per day if they suspend a statewide candidate and $25,000 per day if they suspend a local candidate.
The bill also allows residents to sue companies for deplatforming them.
Bill may be illegal:
The Computer and Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group, said the bill would force companies to rollback moderation policies due to the threat of lawsuit from “
any internet user, from foreign extremists to disgruntled internet trolls.”
CCIA president Matt Schruers said the industry would challenge the law.
"Florida taxpayers will also end up paying their share in the cost of enforcing new regulations, and for the inevitable legal challenges that will come along with the legislature's effort to adopt a law with glaring constitutional challenges,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel.
GOP pushes tech crackdown:
The bill’s signing comes after Twitter, Facebook and other platforms banned Florida’s most famous resident, former President Donald Trump.
Republicans in Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah are considering similar legislation.
At the federal level, Republicans have been pushing to reform Section 230, a federal law that gives tech companies immunity from user-published content on their platforms as long as they take necessary steps to moderate content.