Appeals Court Affirms Unconstitutionality of Key Provisions Of Florida’s Social Media Law

BY Heather Greenfield
May 23, 2022

Washington – A panel of federal judges for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision on Florida’s “social media censorship” law that a Florida federal judge ruled unconstitutional last year. The court ruled unanimously in a 3-0 decision today upholding key First Amendment principles.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, along with fellow trade association NetChoice, challenged the Florida law last May after it was enacted, arguing that it infringes on platforms’ rights of freedom of speech, equal protection, and due process in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Today’s ruling, which was limited to the First Amendment questions, upheld the injunction with respect to the majority of the statute’s provisions abridging platforms’ editorial discretion. Under the court’s ruling, some provisions including obligations regarding data and disclosure requirements, remain in force.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“This ruling means platforms cannot be forced by the government to disseminate vile, abusive and extremist content under penalty of law. This is good news for internet users, the First Amendment and free speech in a democracy.

“When a digital service takes action against problematic content on its own site 一 whether extremism, Russian propaganda, or racism and abuse 一 it is exercising its own right to free expression. 

“We will continue to fight for the First Amendment rights of digital services to engage in the editorial judgments they need to make to protect their users.”

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