Florida Legislature Passes Bill That Would Encourage Lawsuits Over Removal Of Dangerous Content

BY Heather Greenfield
April 29, 2021

Washington — Both chambers of the Florida legislature have approved versions of a bill that would create extensive new regulations on how companies enforce rules for moderating user-generated content. Online platforms have varying policies on what content users may post, which users agree to when they sign up for the service.

Should Gov. Ron DeSantis sign SB 7072, anyone from foreign extremists to disgruntled internet trolls could challenge companies’ efforts to make the internet safer. Florida is one of several states that considered content moderation bills this session that could cost state taxpayers and companies millions of dollars in legal fees, a move that could put smaller and newer platforms out of business.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association supports free speech online, which includes the right for private companies to determine what material is appropriate for their communities.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“Lawsuits and jackpot judgments are a prescription for promoting plaintiffs’ litigation, not free speech. This bill will result in even fewer options for users to express themselves online. Even when a frivolous lawsuit is tossed out, litigation costs run between five and six figures. These costs could quickly add up if Florida green lights an avalanche of lawsuits from anyone who disagrees with a company’s efforts to stamp out disinformation or anti-American extremism. If the governor’s goal is to encourage free speech and reduce lawsuits, he should veto this bill.”

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