(USA Features) Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign new legislation that blocks social media platforms from banning political leaders such as former President Donald Trump, who is a resident of that state.
The GOP-controlled state legislature passed the measure Thursday. DeSantis, also a Republican, has signaled that he will sign it, reports noted Saturday.
The legislation instructs social media companies to publish standards that contain detailed definitions of when a user could and would be censored or blocked. It also would levy as much as a $250,000 daily fine on those companies for each day they deplatform a candidate from the state.
The measure also requires the social media company to notify its users within seven days they face censoring, which gives the user time to correct a post.
State GOP lawmakers said that the bill is necessary to cut back on the influence major social media platforms have over national conversation and debates.
“What this bill is about is sending a loud message to Silicon Valley that they are not the absolute arbiters of truth,” state Rep. John Snyder, a Republican from the Port St. Lucie area, said Wednesday, NBC News reported.
“What this bill does is send a loud message that the Constitution does not have an asterisk that says only certain speech is free and protected,” he added.
The measure will most likely face legal pushback from industry and other groups who say it unconstitutionally regulates speech.
“This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host antisemitic, racist, and hateful content. Content moderation is crucial to an internet that is safe and valuable for families and Floridian small businesses, but this bill would undermine this important ecosystem,” Carl Szabo, vice-president and general counsel of trade group NetChoice, told USA Today in a statement.
For his part, DeSantis, who is a major supporter of Trump, has spoken out against the “oligarchs in Silicon Valley.”