Florida Becomes First GOP State To Sign Law Punishing Tech Giants For Banning Politicians

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Published on 12 Jun 2021, 15:00
Via America’s Lawyer: Florida becomes the first state to punish social media platforms for banning political candidates. Attorney Stephen Luongo joins Mike Papantonio to discuss how Big Tech may be tasked with regulating content, but lawmakers are tasked with protecting free speech.

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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

The fight for free speech has engulfed big tech as, as Florida becomes the first state to punish social media platforms for banning political candidates. How did we get here and will other states follow suit? I have attorney Steve Luongo joining me now. Steve, this sounds like an entire new industry. It sounds like, okay, you've got, you've got Twitter who wants to ban somebody because they disagree with what they say. First of all, most people are pretty torn on that. They don't want us anoint, you know, they, they don't want, this, this is Orwellian, to, to, to think that all we can think about is what the big tech people want us to think about. But Republicans like DeSantis are grabbing a hold of that and if you look at the numbers, the population is sick and tired of it. Take it from there.
Right. Absolutely. It's what you're talking about is these elections and the political elections that we're talking about are razor thin. So you have both sides of the party going half and half. And what governor DeSantis signed last month is a bill that does certain things. It allows Florida citizens to bring cause of action individually against these social media tech platforms. It also allows the Florida attorney general to bring cause of action against them. And lastly, and what's been getting the most publicity, is it prohibits these social media platforms from what they call de-platforming or taking off all Florida, Florida political candidates and allowing the Florida election commission to impose large monetary fines, upwards of $250,000.
Okay. So let's talk about the obvious arguments. Argument first amendment. We're going to hear first amendment. The platform has right to do that. But you're also going to hear part of the infrastructure for these platforms was built by taxpayers.
Right.
I mean, you can't avoid that. Part of the infrastructure was built by, I don't care if it's this much of the infrastructure. The other part of it is the commerce clause, right?
Right.
Constitute, con law 1 0 1, you know, the con, the, the, the commerce clause. Talk about that.
Absolutely. The two biggest attacks on this bill that we're seeing are obviously constitutional is a first amendment violation or not. Are we making a private company publish speech against their own private will and enforcing government speech? What we also are seeing is the violation of what they call the chapter 230 of the communications decency act. And that allows these social media platforms immunity to monitor their own platform and the communications that are expressed there. Now, the caveat to that is that the act allows them to do that. However, they need to do it in good faith and that's really kind of the argument we're seeing from Republicans and conservatives is that they're monitoring behavior and content on these social media platforms, but they're not doing it in good faith.
Okay. Just to show, just to, to make the point that this is not a forgone conclusion, that this is unconstitutional. Why, why? Because you have a diff, you have an issue that a jury could disagree about. One side says black, the other side says white, anytime you have a dispute like that as a matter of law, it's very difficult to come in and say, well, we're just going to make it go away on a summary judgment or directed verdict, because there is a question. There's a question of fact, right?
Absolutely. And what we're seeing right now is three days after this law was signed, it's supposed to take effect July 1st. There was a lawsuit filed in Tallahassee in federal court, and we're going to find out the answers there.

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