Tech Trade Groups Take Legal Action Against Ron DeSantis’ Agenda

( Two trade groups that represent technology companies have filed a lawsuit in federal court to block a Florida law that would hold social media companies accountable for their actions.

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an anti-Big Tech bill that bars social media companies from removing or banning politicians and political candidates from their platforms. The bill also aims to reduce the censorship that many Big Tech companies have taken into the own hands in recent years, which has resulted in many conservative voices being silenced.

The law is set to go into effect on July 1. But the two trade groups — the Computer & Communications Industry Association, and NetChoice — filed their lawsuit to stop it from taking effect.

In their federal lawsuit, they said the law is a “frontal assault on the First Amendment.” They also said it was a “smorgasbord of constitutional violations” that in effect prevent big tech companies from being able to moderate the content that’s posted on their sites.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Tallahassee federal court, reads:

“The act discriminates against and infringes the First Amendment rights of these targeted companies, which include plaintiffs’ members, by compelling them to host — and punishing them for taking virtually any action to remove or make less prominent — even highly objectionable or illegal content, no matter how much that content may conflict with their terms or policies.”

In response, DeSantis’ office didn’t directly respond to the lawsuit. The governor’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, did defend the law in a statement, which read:

“This law is within that authority to rein in a powerful entity that oversteps individuals’ free speech rights. We have no comment on any specific lawsuit, but we anticipated legal challenges. We are confident that this new legislation has a strong legal basis and protects Floridians’ constitutional rights.”

DeSantis has said that the bill provides the state with a tool to prevent large tech companies from continuing to silence any voices it doesn’t agree with.

In addition to preventing Big Tech companies from banning politicians or political candidates, it also requires the companies to provide seven days’ notice to users who are likely to be banned from the platform. The companies must also give these users a chance to resolve the particular issue at hand, and change their behavior before being banned from the platform altogether.

While the bill certainly has some support from a wing of conservatives who believe that Big Tech companies have way too much power to moderate content as they wish, other conservatives don’t believe it jives with their general approach.

Many critics of the Florida bill say it’s not only unconstitutional, but could lead to Big Tech companies being forced to turn their platforms into dangerous places where online content lives.

The vice president of NetChoice, Carl Szabo, said:

“This bill abandons conservative values, violates the First Amendment, and would force websites to host anti-Semitic, racist and hateful content.”