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Protect Democracy and the Electronic Frontier Foundation Urge Federal Judge To Block Unconstitutional Florida Law Barring Platforms From Suspending Politicians

A Florida law that bars social media platforms from suspending politicians’ accounts should be blocked as unconstitutional, Protect Democracy and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued this week in an amicus submitted to a federal judge.

The Florida law is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2021 and was rushed through the Florida legislature and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis is a close ally of former President Donald Trump, who has been suspended from Facebook and Twitter and who has continued to lie about the 2020 election.

Florida is now facing suit in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee over the law. NetChoice, a firm that represents major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association filed suit against the state in May, claiming the law violates First Amendment speech protections enjoyed by the operators of social media platforms.

“Gov. DeSantis and the Florida legislature are so devoted to protecting the big election lie that they trample on the free speech rights they claim to protect,” said Rachel Goodman, counsel at Protect Democracy. “It’s right to discuss whether social media companies currently have too much power over the flow of information; it’s wrong to violate the First Amendment by interfering with private companies’ editorial discretion and requiring them to privilege politicians’ speech over that of other users.”

Florida’s law would require that platforms host political candidates who lie on social media platforms, harass other users, and incite violence. Running for office, or holding political office, should not entitle anyone to abuse terms of service that are enforced for everyone else.

To read our full amicus brief, click here.