Florida asked the US Supreme Court on Wednesday to decide whether states have the power to control how social networks moderate their content and determine which users can post it.
The Republican state wants a law in place to prevent platforms from suspending messages posted by political candidates, passed in response to former President Donald Trump’s veto of Twitter and Facebook.
Florida, like other conservative states, believes that social networks “censor” politicians in their area and believes that moderating political content online violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which mandates freedom of expression. guarantees.
But the law was blocked by a judge in June 2021, upholding the decision on appeal in May.
“The First Amendment does not restrict the rights of private entities that do not perform traditional public service functions…” the magistrate wrote at the time.
If the Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, refuses to admit the case, the final decision will be enforced and the law will remain blocked.
If he accepts it, that platform could settle the regulation debate that has divided Americans since the Trump presidency.
In her request, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the Supreme Court whether the First Amendment prohibits states from requiring social networks to hold certain messages posted by third parties.
It also seeks clarification about whether they may need to provide an explanation to users when the content is removed.
According to representatives of a segment of the American Left and the technology industry, if the law approved in Florida takes effect, messages of hate, propaganda and other problematic content will flood social networks, which currently moderate and restrict this type of content. We do. ,
Florida states in its petition to the Supreme Court that “more than half of American adults read information on the platform”, citing various studies that are also widely used for political purposes.
“When they enforce censorship, companies in the sector manipulate ‘an essential platform to market our ideas,’” says the prosecutor, using a source from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The powerful civil rights group called for Trump’s impeachment by his supporters for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, but was also angered by Twitter’s unilateral power over free speech.