Florida governor signs state's social media 'deplatforming' bill into law

It's unclear how effective the measure will be with Section 230 in place.

Carlos Barria / reuters

In February, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed Senate Bill 7072, a measure that sought to prevent tech companies from “knowingly” deplatforming politicians. Following successful trips through both the state’s legislative house and senate, DeSantis has now signed the bill into law, The Verge reports.

Now that it’s in place, the law bars companies from banning Florida politicians, in the process giving the state’s Election Commission the power to fine them up to $250,000 per day for takedowns involving public office candidates. It allows all residents of the state to sue tech companies if they feel they’ve been treated “unfairly.” Additionally, those companies will need to detail how they decide on bans. Exempt from the law is any company that owns a large theme park or entertainment venue in the state. That's an exemption officials said they added to ensure Disney+ "isn’t caught up in this." Governor DeSantis proposed the law shortly after Facebook and Twitter banned President Trump from their respective platforms in January.

Setting aside whether the law is constitutional or not, the fact is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act exists. Lawmakers could tweak the provision to carve out some of its protections, but at the moment it shields social media media companies from accountability for user behavior. And while there’s agreement among both Democrats and Republicans that it’s time to update the provision, there’s been little consensus on how to go about the process.