Ban Trump? Not so fast. Florida set to stop Facebook and Twitter from censoring politicians | #socialmedia


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is on track to be the first state in the nation to punish social media companies that ban politicians like former President Donald Trump under a bill approved Thursday by the state’s Republican-led Legislature, according to NBC News.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and close Trump ally who called for the bill’s passage, is expected to sign the legislation into law, but the proposal appears destined to be challenged in court after a tech industry trade group called it a violation of the First Amendment speech rights of corporations.

Republicans have been barraging Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other tech companies for booting Trump and other conservatives from their platforms after violations of the companies’ rules, including bans on the promotion of violence related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Republicans have called social media bans unfair censorship, and this month Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas came close to agreeing, writing in an opinion that legislators could be justified if they passed laws requiring social media to carry all views.

The Florida bill would prohibit social media companies from knowingly “deplatforming” political candidates, meaning a service could not “permanently delete or ban” a candidate. Suspensions of up to 14 days would still be allowed, and a service could remove individual posts that violate its terms of service.

Facebook and other social media services have long, often elaborate rulebooks for governing what’s allowed on their platforms, which the companies regulate as private forums. But as more political speech has moved online, enforcing those rules consistently and without major pushback has become a constant challenge.

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The Florida House voted 77-38 in favor of the bill, the Senate, 23-17.

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