Florida bill would restrict social media platforms from banning politicians

From The Verge:

Florida is on the verge of passing legislation that would fine social media companies like Twitter and Facebook that “knowingly de-platform” political candidates. The bill was first proposed in February by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a supporter of former President Trump, although Florida Republicans insist the bill has nothing to do with the former president, a famous denizen of social media who was banned earlier this year by major platforms.


Republican supporters of SB 7072 say the measure is intended to protect the free speech rights of Florida residents and “is not about President Trump.” But the bill’s provisions seem tailored to GOP grievances about social media and the 2020 presidential election. Trump was permanently banned from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms for inciting the rioters who attacked the US Capitol on January 6th.

And yet…

The bill also contains a very Florida-specific exemption for any “information service, system, internet search engine, or access software provider operated by a company that owns and operates” a theme park or large entertainment complex. Republican state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia said that exemption was included so that the Disney Plus streaming service “isn’t caught up in this.” The Disney World park in Orlando brings in significant tax revenue for the state of Florida, which relies heavily on tourism dollars.

SB 7072 also bars social media platforms from restricting “journalistic enterprises,” which the bill defines as entities that do business in Florida and have at least 100,000 monthly active users or 50,000 paid subscribers. And the bill includes provisions for conservatives’ favorite social media bogeyman: shadow-banning, which it defines rather opaquely as “action by a social media platform, through any means, whether the action is determined by a natural person or an algorithm, to limit or eliminate the exposure of a user or content or material posted by a user to other users of the social media platform.” Users must be allowed to opt out of shadow banning, and platforms can’t shadow ban political candidates or news websites.

Only in Florida, apparently.