Florida Passes Bill to Punish Social Media Companies that Ban Politicians
Big Tech platforms would face fines of $250,000 per day
Florida has passed a bill that seeks to crack down on Big Tech by punishing social media platforms for banning politicians.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is expected to sign the legislation, backed by Republican lawmakers, into state law this week.
Under the legislation, social media platforms would face fines of $250,000 per day for banning a Florida political candidate and $25,000 for other candidates.
Companies would also be required to publish standards on when users could face bans.
They must also provide seven days of notice to candidates who face a potential suspension.
"This bill is about the 22 million Floridians and their First Amendment rights."
The bill, SB 7072, applies to companies with more than 100 million monthly users – a standard that would affect Facebook and Twitter.
Republicans, including DeSantis, have long accused social media platforms of attempting to silence conservative voices.
Criticism of prominent social media platforms intensified after several companies opted to permanently ban Donald Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Trump has yet to return to social media.
The GOP-controlled Florida Senate approved the bill in a 23-17 vote.
The state’s House voted 77-37 to approve the bill.
The legislation drew widespread criticism from state Democratic lawmakers who argued the bill was a politically motivated response to Trump’s ban.
Democrats also questioned language included in a final version of the bill that notes that theme park operators weren’t subject to the rules.
Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani blasted the bill as "comical."
"This bill is really political in nature," Eskamani said.