Appeals Court Halts DeSantis Big Tech Accountability Law

May 23, 2022 Updated 2:57 PM ET

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May 23, 2022 Updated 2:57 P.M. ET

ATLANTA (FLV) – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that major parts of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Big Tech law are “unconstitutional.”

The Big Tech law aims to institute legal penalties for social media companies who deplatform Floridians without reason. The appeals court upheld part of a lower court’s preliminary injunction against the law.

This Florida law requires large social media platforms to “be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies.” Floridians who believe they have been wrongfully targeted could sue a company who suspends them permanently. 

“Put simply, with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it,” the court said.

The court looked at whether social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are “engaged in constitutionally protected expressed activity” when they moderate the content disseminated on their platforms. The state of Florida said the companies are not. 

The court explains that social media companies participating in “content-moderation” constitutes “protected exercises of editorial judgment.”

The court said “the provisions of the new Florida law that restrict large platforms’ ability to engage in content moderation unconstitutionally burden that prerogative.”

The law prohibits political candidates in Florida from being suspended. Fines of up to $250,000 per day for statewide candidates and $25,000 for non-statewide candidates will be imposed if it is violated.

DeSantis signed the Big Tech legislation in 2021 and said it will “safeguard” Floridians’ ability to access and participate in online platforms. 

“What we’ve been seeing across the U.S. is an effort to silence, intimidate, and wipe out dissenting voices by the leftist media and big corporations,” DeSantis said when he signed the legislation.  

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