The move prompted pushback from Big Tech companies, however — and a federal judge this week temporarily blocked the state law, according to Fox Business.
“Likely to prevail on the merits”
According to reports, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle sided with NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association in his ruling on Wednesday, determining that the Florida rule violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies.
“The plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment,” the judge wrote, according to The Washington Post. “There is nothing that could be severed and survive.”
NetChoice responded to the ruling by touting the fact that the Florida law will not be taking effect on June 1, though many Americans saw it as a threat to their own rights.
“This order protects private businesses against the State’s demand that social media carry user posts that are against their community standards,” the NetChoice statement declared. “Even better, it lets social media provide high-quality services to their users while keeping them safe from the worst content posted by irresponsible users.”
The preliminary injunction is far from the final say on Florida’s challenge to the authority of Big Tech firms.
“Disappointed by Judge Hinkle’s ruling”
Lawyers representing the DeSantis administration are likely to appeal the ruling, which could advance to the 11th Circut Court of Appeals for a decision. Of course, there is always the narrow possibility that the case makes it all the way to the Supreme Court.
“We are disappointed by Judge Hinkle’s ruling and disagree with his determination that the U.S. Constitution protects Big Tech’s censorship of certain individuals and content over others,” said a DeSantis spokesperson.
His national prominence has grown in recent years, particularly because of his approach to COVID-19 restrictions and employing a method similar to former President Donald Trump of fighting against Democrats.
If he is successful in his ongoing bid to rein in Big Tech’s power, he could further cement his position as an early 2024 frontrunner.