Today, TechFreedom filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Florida’s bid to impose invasive “transparency” rules on social media platforms is unconstitutional. Last year, Florida passed SB7072, a sweeping social media speech regulation. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit blocked most of the law, holding that it violates the First Amendment. But the court upheld most of the law’s “transparency” requirements.
“SB7072’s transparency rules are a straightforward instance of unconstitutional compelled speech,” said Corbin K. Barthold, Director of Appellate Litigation at TechFreedom. “The law forces social media platforms (among other things) to provide ‘detailed definitions’ for their terms of service and ‘thorough’ rationales for their content moderation decisions. It forces them to speak. It should, therefore, have been subjected to the highest level of First Amendment scrutiny. Instead, the court of appeals applied a 1985 Supreme Court case called Zauderer, which triggers a lower standard of review for uncontroversial disclosures that correct deceptive statements in advertising. But SB7072’s transparency rules meet none of those criteria.”
“Social media transparency rules, by their very nature, bring the state into an unhealthy entanglement with platforms’ free speech rights,” Barthold continued. “They are meant to influence platforms’ decisions about what content to allow on their products. They’re speech codes in cheap disguise. The government will use them as political weapons, because they are political weapons. They violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court should grant review and say so.”
TechFreedom was pleased to have the National Taxpayers Union and Washington Legal Foundation join the brief.
Find this release on our website, and share it on Twitter. We can be reached for comment at email@example.com. See our related work:
- Social Media Transparency Rules, Zauderer Standard Head to Supreme Court, Lawfare (Sept. 27, 2022)
- Florida & Texas vs. the Internet, Tech Policy Podcast #323 (June 29, 2022)
- Social Media “Transparency” as First Amendment Violation, Tech Policy Podcast #315 (March 24, 2022)
- Our Eleventh Circuit brief in this case critiquing SB7072’s common carriage theory (Nov. 15, 2021)
- Social Media and Common Carriage: Lessons From the Litigation Over Florida’s SB 7072, WLF Legal Backgrounder (Sept. 24, 2021)
- Florida’s History of Challenging the First Amendment Shows DeSantis’ ‘Tech Transparency’ Bill is Doomed, Miami Herald (March 25, 2021)
- Politics, Not Pragmatism, Is Driving Florida Anti-Big Tech Bills, Daily Caller (Mar. 23, 2021)
- No, Florida Can’t Regulate Online Speech, Lawfare (Mar. 12, 2021)
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