Big Tech advocates filed a lawsuit to stop Florida’s free speech bill, and the clock is ticking for its defenders to scramble together a defense plan.
Locking horns with Big Tech is an easy way to make powerful enemies. “Groups representing the tech industry filed a lawsuit to block the enforcement of Florida’s anti-censorship law, S.B. 7072, which was signed in late May, and is set to take effect on July 1,” Reclaim The Net reported June 14. “The court denied the state’s request for more time to prepare for the lawsuit.” The state of Florida reportedly claimed it “would delay enforcement until Aug 1” in an effort to get the court to allow it more time. With the request reportedly denied, the state merely has until the June 28 hearing to prepare.
Irony is apparently lost on Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice, one of the organizations behind the lawsuit. He attempted to frame Florida as the one “run[ning] roughshod over the First Amendment rights of private online businesses” in a NetChoice announcement. Szabo then revealed that his organization defends the right of companies to purge so-called “hateful” content:
“As the lawsuit explains, SB 7072 is a blatant attack on the First Amendment. Not only does it compel private online businesses to host content they’d otherwise remove or restrict, it also gives special treatment to certain speakers like political candidates—even ones who spread unlawful, violent, or hateful content—and threatens severe penalties even when the businesses step in to protect their users or to respond to unforeseen crises.”
If anyone misunderstood Szabo’s stance, he was quoted again later explaining that he objects to companies being forced to allow free speech: “The law is crony capitalism masquerading as consumer protection. Our lawsuit will stop an attempt by the state of Florida to undermine the First Amendment and force social media sites to carry offensive and harmful political messages.”
To combat the constant barrage of censorship, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed the state’s new pro-free speech law on May 24. The law prohibits platforms from deplatforming political candidates. It would impose a fine of $100,000 per day for statewide candidates and $10,000 per day for censoring other candidates.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form and help us hold Big Tech accountable.