Judge Puts Florida Social Media Fine Law on Hold
A federal judge issued an injunction Wednesday halting a Florida law that would fine social media companies for banning political candidates. The law would have gone into effect the next day. Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the law likely violated the First Amendment right to free speech, but the injunction is not permanent. He wrote, “The legislation compels providers to host speech that violates their standards—speech they otherwise would not host—and forbids providers from speaking as they otherwise would… Like prior First Amendment restrictions, this is an instance of burning the house to roast a pig… Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest.” The law, authored and passed by Republicans in the state legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, would have allowed the state of Florida to fine companies like Twitter and Facebook up to $250,000 per day for barring political candidates from their social networks, as they did with former President Donald Trump. Any company that owned a theme park was exempt from the law’s provisions in an obvious loophole meant for Disney.