A judge on Wednesday blocked a Florida law that would be the first in the nation to ban social media companies from banning political candidates.
In issuing a preliminary order, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida blocked “the enforcement of portions of the law that were in place before or in violation of the First Amendment. ” or included in other parts of federal law.
The bill, signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in May, would penalize companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter if they permanently ban candidates for office in the state.
Republicans like Mr. DeSantis have said such laws are necessary because the platforms tend to antagonize publishers and conservative personalities, despite many of the most successful accounts on certain platforms. Social media platform belongs to far-right voices. They were especially moved when Facebook and Twitter banned former President Donald J. Trump after the riots at the Capitol on January 6.
Two lobbying groups representing Facebook, Google and other tech giants – NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association – sued to block the law.
Judge Hinkle made the order to block the law from being enforced on a preliminary basis, saying tech teams were likely to succeed once the case was reviewed.
“The law currently being enacted is an attempt to rein in social media providers that are deemed too large and too liberal,” he said. “Balancing the exchange of opinions among private speakers is not in the legitimate interest of the government.”
A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.