Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an extremely controversial — first-in-the-nation — bill at Florida International University on Monday that would allow the state to penalize Big Tech companies like Facebook and YouTube that try to censor and “deplatform” political candidates.
SB 7072 states that platforms can only suspend accounts for at most 14 days and will be penalized with as much as $250,000 (£176,000) per day fine for violations.
The legislation also mandates that a 30-day warning period be given first before an account is removed and requires the platform to publish its reasons for censoring and removing accounts and their content.
“When big tech censors enforce their rules inconsistently to discriminate in favor of the dominant ideology in Silicon Valley, they will be held accountable in the state of Florida, and all Floridians treated unfairly by big tech platforms will have the right to sue companies who violate this law,” said DeSantis during a press conference in Miami on Monday.
Critics are arguing that the law is a violation of the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and is a regulatory overreach into private companies’ rights to stop the spread of misinformation and harmful content.
Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the bill. YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The law is set to take effect on July 1 and a similar proposal is making its way through the Texas Legislature.