Many Americans say social media platforms are censoring their political views, and that led Florida lawmakers to pass S.B. 7072, a bill allowing both users and the state attorney general to sue companies that do so.
Representatives of the tech industry responded by challenging the law, and earlier this year a group of federal judges ruled in their favor. Now Florida wants the Supreme Court to hear its case.
Circuit Courts strike down Florida law but uphold similar Texas bill
According to the Washington Post, Florida filed a petition with the nation’s highest judicial body on Wednesday asking it to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
The ruling saw a three judge panel side with Netchoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association in their claim that S.B. 7072.
However, the 11th Circuit’s conclusion is at odds with one reached this month by the 5th Circuit, which upheld a similar Texas law.
“Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say,” Fox News quoted 5th Circuit Judge Andrew S. Oldham as saying last Friday.
The Post pointed out that this puts the two circuit courts in conflict with one another, which is why both Netchoice as well as the Computer & Communications Industry Association agree with Florida that the Supreme Court should sort things.
“We have the Constitution and 200 years of precedent on our side,” Netchoice vice president and general counsel Carl Szabo declared in a joint statement.
“We agree with Florida that the U.S. Supreme Court should hear this case, and we’re confident that First Amendment rights will be upheld,” they added.
Both Democrats and Republicans are putting forward social media bills
The Post pointed out that should the Supreme Court elect to hear Florida’s case then its decision will have ramifications well beyond the Sunshine State.
The paper noted how “more than 100 bills related to social media content moderation have been introduced in state legislatures across the country.”
Although many of those bills are coming from Republican legislators in red states, some have also been proposed by Democrats who fear so-called “hate speech.”