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Social Media Bill Temporarily Blocked After Judge's Ruling

A Florida appeals court says remote legal hearings are constitutional.
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A Florida appeals court says remote legal hearings are constitutional.

A federal judge late Wednesday issued an injunction against a recently-enacted state law that would’ve imposed stiff penalties on social media companies that de-platform political candidates.

A federal judge late Wednesday issued an injunction against a recently-enacted state law that would’ve imposed stiff penalties on social media companies that de-platform political candidates.

A U.S. District Court ruling issued late Wednesday prevents the state attorney’s office from enforcing the new rules on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media companies.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law in May. It was set to take effect Thursday, July 1.

Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling highlights the fact that private companies can’t infringe upon anyone’s First Amendment rights. The U.S. Constitution, however, prohibits governments from restricting speech. And that’s exactly what Hinkle’s ruling finds the new state law would violate.

Hinkle writes the new law fails to address a “compelling state interest” that would allow the state to restrict the private companies’ free speech rights to moderate, remove and post content on their platforms.

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Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.