Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association and co-plaintiff NetChoice have cross-petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on Florida’s social media law that lower courts noted was unconstitutional. The filing comes after the State of Florida filed a petition earlier this month also asking the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and rule on the constitutional issues at the core of Florida’s law imposing ‘must-carry’ rules on online platforms.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled unanimously in a 3-0 decision that Florida’s new social media law violated First Amendment protections against compelled speech, but allowed certain regulatory disclosure provisions to stand.
CCIA, along with fellow trade association NetChoice, had challenged the Florida law in 2021 after it was enacted, arguing that it infringes on digital services’ rights of freedom of speech under the First Amendment, which includes the right not to be compelled by the government to carry particular speech. The risks are particularly acute here, as Florida’s law would compel digital services to disseminate dangerous content online, in violation of their standards and policies.
In a joint motion filed this summer, CCIA, NetChoice and the Florida defendants agreed that the case was ripe for Supreme Court review because it presented “first-of-its-kind” questions about government control and whether states can regulate social media content, and, if so, how.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:
“The First Amendment means that governments cannot pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas. Florida’s law violates a well-established Constitutional principle that the government cannot dictate what content private entities distribute, and particularly not to ensure that a favored viewpoint is heard. As more governments line up to control online speech, it is vital that the Supreme Court hear this case to uphold principles of free expression.”
“We have every reason to believe the Justices will see the threat the Florida law presents to longstanding principles of U.S. democracy and agree to hear this case.”