August 19, 2022

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The Florida law that makes it illegal for large social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to ban politicians likely violates the First Amendment, according to a unanimous ruling by a panel of three federal appeals court judges.

The ruling, released today by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, upheld key portions of a preliminary injunction issued by a US District Court judge in June 2021. Florida appealed that injunction. As a result of today’s ruling, the state still cannot enforce the law’s content-moderation requirements.

“It is substantially likely that [the Florida law’s] content-moderation restrictions and its requirement that platforms provide a thorough rationale for every content-moderation action violate the First Amendment,” the appeals court judges found in today’s ruling. It wasn’t a complete loss for Florida, as the judges said it is “unlikely that the law’s remaining (and far less burdensome) disclosure provisions violate the First Amendment.” Florida can thus enforce those less burdensome disclosure requirements while litigation is pending.

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