Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a bill ready to be signed that would prevent social media companies from permanently kicking people off their platforms in the state.
The bill passed Florida House 77-38 on Thursday in favor of the bill, the Senate, 23-17. The removal of state political candidates from social media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook is a crime.
This would subject companies to fines of $ 250,000 per day for applicants statewide. The removal of a local candidate would merit a fine of $ 25,000 per day.
Florida’s bill may serve as a prototype for other states that will force courts to re-assess free speech on social media.
Under the Florida bill, seven days’ notice is required, warning users that they are about to be banned, giving them time to correct any issues. Suspensions of up to 14 days would still be allowed.
“The purpose of this bill is to send a strong message to Silicon Valley that they are not the absolute arbiter of the truth,” GOP Representative John Snyder said on Wednesday. NBC News reported. “What this bill does is send a strong message that the Constitution does not include an asterisk indicating that only certain speeches are free and protected.”
Opponents of the bill argue that the First Amendment gives them the right to decide who can participate in the platforms. “This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host anti-Semitic, racist and hateful content.” Carl Szabo, Vice President of the NetChoice Business Group says USA TODAY. “Content moderation is crucial to a safe and valuable internet for Florida families and small businesses, but this bill would damage this important ecosystem.”