- President Donald Trump filed a brief on Friday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of Florida’s social media crackdown law
- The former president joins several other states and Florida’s attorney general in seeking to overturn an appellate court ruling blocking the law
- Today, two technology groups, both which oppose the law, nevertheless joined Trump and the other states in seeking a final decision on the matter
Days after former U.S. President Donald Trump filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court to take up Florida’s controversial social media crackdown law, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and a co-plaintiff, NetChoice, have cross-petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on Florida’s social media law that lower courts noted was unconstitutional.
The filing comes after the State of Florida filed a petition earlier this month also asking the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and rule on the constitutional issues at the core of Florida’s law imposing ‘must-carry’ rules on online platforms.
While Trump, and other conservative states want the high court to overturn a unanimous Eleventh Circuit decision holding that Florida’s new social media law violated First Amendment protections against compelled speech, both CCIA and NetChoice argue that the law infringes on digital services’ (including, but not limited to social media companies) rights of freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The groups say that includes the right not to be compelled by the government to carry particular speech.
But proponents of the law are frustrated because they say social media companies like Facebook and Twitter are taking advantage of certain provisions that allow them to act as a publisher to control and restrict certain content, while at the same time avoid liability for the content on their site by claiming they have no control over what their users publish. The double standard has led to increased efforts by states like Florida to crack down on deplatforming and other controversies.
But CCIA and Netchoice say that the risks of allowing Florida’s law to stand might compel some digital platforms to disseminate dangerous content online, in violation of their standards and policies.
“The First Amendment means that governments cannot pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas,” said CCIA President Matt Schruers. “Florida’s law violates a well-established Constitutional principle that the government cannot dictate what content private entities distribute, and particularly not to ensure that a favored viewpoint is heard. As more governments line up to control online speech, it is vital that the Supreme Court hear this case to uphold principles of free expression.”
If the U.S. Supreme Court chooses to ignore the case, the 11th Circuit ruling against Florida’s new law would stand. However, in their joint motion filed earlier this summer, CCIA, NetChoice and the Florida defendants agreed that the case was ripe for Supreme Court review because it presented “first-of-its-kind” questions about government control and the question whether question whether states can regulate social media content.
Many companies are closely watching the case and a quick resolution would help shape future policies and legal efforts.