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How a Florida law in front of the U.S. Supreme Court could change social media and free speech

Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments over the constitutionality of a Florida law targeting social media companies.
Supreme Court
Posted at 3:48 PM, Feb 28, 2024

The Sunshine State is at the center of a nationwide battle over the future of free speech and the First Amendment.

Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments over the constitutionality of a Florida law that restricts tech companies from moderating content and blocking political views.

Republicans passed the state law in question back in 2021.

The legislation came soon after big tech companies, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, banned former President Donald Trump from their platforms after the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The Florida law makes it illegal for tech companies to ban political candidates from their platforms.

“Whatever the court decides, you know, we’re gonna make sure that we’re doing everything we can to, to ensure that people have a right to speak in these public forums. We want more speech, not less speech,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a video message on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Two trade groups, including the Computer and Communications Industry Association, have sued Florida and Texas, which has a similar big tech law, claiming the state’s laws violate social media company’s first amendment rights.

“A private business, whether it’s a bookstore, or a newspaper, or a parade, or today, a website, should not be forced by the government to disseminate content that it doesn’t think is suitable for its audience,” said Matt Schruers, President of the CCIA.

“The first amendment protects individuals from the government. It doesn’t protect individuals from consequences of what they’ve done. If you go into a community and you violate its rules and you get kicked out of that community, that’s not a first amendment problem.”

The Supreme Court Justices are expected to give their final ruling in June.

That ruling could have drastic impacts on 2024 election content on social media.