Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a law that will penalize social media companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, that ban politicians from their platforms.

The law seeks to hold Big Tech companies accountable for content moderation practices. According to The New York Times, DeSantis' signing the law was a direct response to Facebook and Twitter's bans of former President Donald Trump in January.

Ron DeSantis said the law would allow them to sue social media companies for up to $100,000 in damages for each proven claim.

In a press conference, the Florida governor also said that the measure would require companies to detail how they reach conclusions about content moderation, Fox News reported.

Aside from fines for barring candidates, the law also makes it illegal to prevent some news outlets from posting to their platforms in response to the contents of their stories.

Ron DeSantis noted that the measure would protect state residents from Big Tech's "power grab on speech, thought and content."

Legal experts and tech industry trade groups raised their concerns about the law's constitutionality. They warned that it gives the government too much power over online speech.

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Concerns on Penalizing Social Media Companies

Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School in California, said it was a bad policy and some of its provisions are "obviously unconstitutional" as they restrict the editorial discretion of online publishers, The Washington Post reported.

Goldman added that some aspects of the measure would also be preempted by a federal Internet law, which shields Internet companies from lawsuits over posts, photos, and other content shared on their services.

The law professor said that it was performative and was never designed to be a law but to send a message to voters.

Kurt Opsahl, the deputy executive director and general counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, had his concerns as well, such as control over the Internet is critical. Opsahl said that it does not help to pass an "unconstitutional bill" that would be challenged immediately.

Meanwhile, trade groups for the tech industry said that the Florida law could make it more difficult for social media companies to take down possibly harmful speech on their platforms.

Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said it would allow lawful but horrendous contents to be posted by users, such as pornography, violence, and hate speech. NetChoice is a trade association for eCommerce whose members include Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

Florida Law on Barring Political Candidates

The Florida measure is set to take effect in July. The Biden administration has revoked a Trump executive order that called on the Federal Communications Commission to rethink the scope of its section.

The Texas Senate has supported a legislation similar to Florida that disallows large tech companies from blocking or discriminating against users based on their viewpoints. North Carolina and Louisiana state legislators also have the same bills.

The Florida House and Senate had voted to pass the legislation that will penalize social media firms banning politicians from their platforms last month. The Florida Senate approved the bill in a 23-17 vote, while the state's House voted 77-37 to support the bill.

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