Florida Adopts a Law Regulating Online Platforms’ Content Moderation Practices

On May 25, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the country’s first state law regulating online platform moderation practices. The bill makes it illegal for online platforms to suspend or ban state political candidates for more than 14 days or to use post-prioritizing or shadow banning algorithms for content by or about the candidate. The bill also creates transparency and notice requirements regarding content moderation practices and allows users to opt for a chronological news feed without curation. The law bans the online platforms from censoring, de-platforming, or shadow banning qualifying “journalistic enterprises” based on their content and does not apply to websites or platforms owned by theme park or entertainment venue operators. Platforms may be fined up to $250,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for statewide office and the bill provides for a private right of action in certain circumstances. Several commentators have criticized the law and it is expected to face constitutional challenges, in addition to which the law may be preempted by Section 230 of Communications Decency Act. The law will take effect on July 1. Similar bills have been considered in other states, including Texas. Read more here.

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