Eleventh Circuit Finds Florida Social Media Law Unconstitutional

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals finds that Florida's social media law violates the First Amendment.

Today, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced its opinion in Netchoice v. Attorney General, State of Florida, finding that Florida’s S.B. 7072 violates the First Amendment. The law declared social media platforms to be common carriers, and restricted their content moderation and editorial decisions. Public Knowledge has previously explained why social media platforms are not, and should not, be treated like common carriers.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

“Today’s decision is a victory for the First Amendment. Florida’s S.B. 7072 would have ordered social media platforms to host and distribute horrific and distasteful content, and to turn a blind eye to hate and abuse.

“The court correctly recognized that social media platforms are not just hosts or transmitters of speech like telephone or broadband providers, but that they have always, and necessarily must, play a role in shaping and curating content. 

“Free speech requires content moderation. We know from experience that unmoderated social media platforms quickly can turn into cesspools of spam and hate, and that trolls can drive ordinary users off of platforms. Platforms are far from infallible, and must be held to account.  But they must remain free to use their editorial discretion to choose what speech to host and promote, and as the court found today, the Constitution requires this, as well.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.