Texas Attorney General Paxton announced on Sept. 20 that he is leading a coalition of 10 states in filing an amicus brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Florida’s law that attempts to regulate censorship on Big Tech social media platforms.
Paxton signed on behalf of Texas, joining the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina who have also filled an amicus brief in support of Florida’s law.
“The regulation of big tech censorship will inevitably suppress the ideas and beliefs of millions of Americans,” Paxton said in a statement. “I will defend the First Amendment and ensure that conservative voices have the right to be heard. Big Tech does not have the authority to police the expressions of people whose political viewpoint they simply disagree with.”
Florida’s SB 7072 law allows Floridians to take legal action against Big Tech platforms if they censor a user’s content without consistent standards.
The new bill also prevents Big Tech from banning Floridian political candidates. Social media companies that deplatform candidates for statewide office will be fined $250,000 a day. The fine is $25,000 per day when deplatforming candidates for other offices.
Big Tech companies that violate the law can be brought to trial for monetary damage, and the state’s attorney general can litigate companies that don’t comply with the law under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in May but District Judge Robert Hinkle in June granted a temporary injunction preventing the governor from implementing the law after two Internet trade groups—NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association— filed a lawsuit.
The trade groups argued the law may violate the First Amendment by compelling social media platforms to host offensive speech they otherwise would not and by interfering with their editorial policies.
The coalition in its amicus brief said the district court’s First Amendment analysis is “riddled with errors.”