A federal judge has blocked a new Florida law that was going to enable the state to penalize tech tyrant social media companies when they arbitrarily ban political candidates. The judge is saying that the law likely violates free speech rights.
So let’s get this straight. A law designed to protect the free speech rights of political candidates is a violation of free speech rights. It makes you wonder who got to the judge?
On Wednesday, US District Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee, a Bill Clinton appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that blocks enforcement of the law, which was supposed to take effect on Thursday.
“This order preliminarily enjoins enforcement of the parts of the legislation that are preempted or violate the First Amendment,” the judge said in the order filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District Of Florida.
“The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” Hinkle wrote.
The First Amendment guarantees citizens the right to free speech.
Two tech trade groups are the ones who filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida back in May over the new law.
The lawsuit stated that the bill signed into law back in May was unconstitutional. It was filed by internet lobbying groups NetChoice and Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA). Members of the groups include Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
If the argument they are making is that the free speech of the tech tyrant companies, who violate people’s free speech every day of the year, then they can no longer claim to be a platform. Being categorized as a platform gives social media companies freedom from liability for what people say on their platforms. A platform claims to just be the medium where users can go to post what’s on their minds. A publisher is where the publisher itself decides what goes onto its site.
For example, someone can’t just write an article and post it on the New York Times website. The New York Times decides what articles and stories and op-eds go on their pages. That makes them a publisher and because they are the ones who decide what goes on their site they are held liable for anything someone writes that could be libelous. Not so for platforms. Platforms claim to be open to anyone who wants to post there, but tech tyrant platforms have gone woke and they censor, suspend, and ban conservatives who post speech that does not agree with the leftist tech tyrants.
The Sunshine State was going to be the first to regulate how tech tyrants moderate online speech. The law would have made it easier for Florida’s attorney general to sue social media companies for imposing speech moderation on users arbitrarily and unfairly.
Bozo clowns claiming to be Internet law experts criticized the Florida law as unconstitutional claiming the law was already pre-empted by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law I already mentioned that protects online companies from liability over content posted by users. But this isn’t a tech company being protected from liability over someone’s post. This is completely different. This is a tech company saying someone cannot use their services because they don’t vote the same way they do. That’s it in a nutshell.
Former President Donald Trump went through having his posts labeled as “misinformation” went they weren’t, and eventually, his account was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. They claim he was banned because of the January 6 riot at the Capitol which they accuse Trump of inciting, without any real evidence, but they were just itching to ban him, anyway.
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The ruling makes no sense. The law was created to protect political candidates from being censored by tech companies that are protected from liability for what their users post. If anything, platforms should allow any and all free speech outside of threatening to physically harm someone, so they are censoring free speech based on political bias and that makes them no different from the New York Times deciding what speech goes onto their website.
Rich is a conservative syndicated opinion writer and owner of Maga-Chat.com. He writes about politics, culture, liberty, and faith.
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