A judge blocked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' 'deplatforming' law, saying it would violate social-media companies' First Amendment rights

A judge blocked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' 'deplatforming' law, saying it would violate social-media companies' First Amendment rights
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Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. oe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
  • A judge blocked a new bill from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis banning "deplatforming" on social media.

  • The bill would allow Florida to sue social media companies if they suspend political candidates.

  • The judge said the bill violated social-media companies' First Amendment rights.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A judge has blocked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' anti "deplatforming" bill, one day before it was due to come into force.

The bill, which DeSantis signed in May, was designed to stop social-media companies from "willfully deplatforming" political candidates in Florida by suspending them.

US District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday blocking enforcement of the bill.

If passed into law, the bill would allow Florida to fine companies $250,000 a day, and private citizens could seek damages of $100,000.

Hinkle said the bill violated social media companies' First Amendment rights.

"The legislation compels providers to host speech that violates their standards - speech they otherwise would not host - and forbids providers from speaking as they otherwise would," the injunction stated.

Read more: How Matt Gaetz went in just 3 months from Fox News darling to being 'excommunicated' from the network's many shows

"The legislation now at issue was an effort to rein in social-media providers deemed too large and too liberal. Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest," the injunction added.

Hinkle also picked up on a loophole in the bill exempting companies which also own theme parks in Florida, saying the exclusion deserved "strict scrutiny."

The injunction was the result of a lawsuit filed by two Big Tech lobbying groups whose members include Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google.

Legal experts told Wired in May DeSantis' bill was legally untenable.

"This is so obviously unconstitutional, you wouldn't even put it on an exam," Miami University law professor A. Michael Froomkin told Wired.

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