Florida’s New Online Speech Law Incentivizes Hate Speech and Disinformation
May 24, 2021

Florida Ron DeSantis today signed into law S.B. 7072, a bill that ties platforms’ hands in fighting hate speech and disinformation, limits platform policy changes to once per month, facilitates foreign trolls’ interference  in elections, and enables political leaders to foment insurrection online.  

The Chamber of Progress, a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future, opposed the bill and its CEO Adam Kovacevich issued the following statement today:

“At a time when many people want to see healthier online communities free of hate and conspiracy theories, this bill ties platforms’ hands in the fight against toxic and incendiary content.  It would turn Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into anything-goes sites like 4Chan and Gab.  Fortunately, the bill is so clearly unconstitutional that its authors’ efforts to turn the Internet into a cesspool of lies and hate should be short-lived.”

The bill:

  • Requires platforms to “apply censorship, deplatforming, and shadow banning standards in a consistent manner among users on the platform,” imposing a false impartiality standard that would hobble platforms’ freedom to remove or downrank QAnon conspiracies, vaccine disinformation, or President Trump’s election “Big Lie.”
  • Prohibits online platforms from making any changes to its content moderation policies “more than once every 30 days,” allowing a domestic terror group promoting a previously unseen conspiracy theory to outrun social platforms’ detection efforts.
  • Requires that platforms “publish the standards, including detailed definitions, it uses or has used for determining how to censor, deplatform, and shadow ban,” enabling Russian government trolls to devise new strategies to evade platforms’ evolving rules. 
  • Prohibits platforms from removing speech by political candidates, giving free reign to future Trump-like figures to use social media to stir another violent insurrection.

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The Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future.  We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.  

Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.