Florida Man Signs Blatantly Corrupt And Unconstitutional Social Media Bill, Cementing Florida As Tech Laughing Stock

from the wasting-taxpayer-funds dept

And, off we go. We’ve talked about a bunch of states pushing blatantly unconstitutional social media content moderation bills, with Florida leading the pack as the most eager to waste taxpayer money on something so obviously bogus. As you’ll recall, at the end of last month, Florida really added some unconstitutional icing on the unconstitutional cake by exempting Disney (and any other company that owned a theme park in Florida) from the bill’s social media requirements.

The bill has a few different unconstitutional provisions, but the one getting the most attention is that it bans non-theme park associated websites from removing content or accounts from people running for office. There are also the ridiculous transparency clauses that have become stupidly popular of late, and which really serve as a smokescreen to allow users to sue websites for being moderated.

And despite tons of experts explaining why this is unconstitutional, Governor Ron DeSantis — who made this bill a key plank in his “look at me, I’m a MAGA culture warrior” platform — has now signed the bill. And to put a clown show cherry on top of the censorious, unconstitutional cake, DeSantis highlighted infamous provocateur and fabulist James O’Keefe from Project Veritas, who attended the bill signing, and is currently suing Twitter for defamation over its reasons for kicking him off their platform.

Social media companies ?use secret algorithms and shadow banning to shape debates and control the flow of information,? DeSantis said. ?But yet they evade accountability by claiming they?re just neutral platforms, even as they amplify partisan agendas and censor dissent. Every day, they act as the proverbial Big Brother, and 2021 looks an awful lot like the fictitious 1984.?

I mean, I just can’t even bother to respond to this nonsense.

As the Orlando Sentinel article notes, this attack on internet companies comes at the same time that Miami, in particular, has been hyping itself up as a good destination for tech startups. Except that this bill would create a massive liability regime for any internet company that hosts any user-generated content. I mean, unless they buy one of the thousands of theme parks found around Florida.

None of that will matter in the long run, because this bill is going to be tossed out eventually, after DeSantis wastes a ton of taxpayer funds trying and failing to defend this bill in court. The bill is (1) pre-empted by Federal law, as Section 230 makes clear, and (2) a blatantly unconstitutional violation of the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on laws that infringe upon speech rights, not to mention a pretty obvious attack on basic property rights.

But, these days, things like the Constitution and free speech take a back seat to Republican culture warrioring and victim-playing.

Even some Republicans recognize just how dumb the bill is:

?My concern is about potential candidates, about crazy people, Nazis and child molesters and pedophiles who realize they can say anything they want … if all they do is fill out those two pieces of paper,? said Fine, R-Brevard County.

Though, it’s notable that Fine still voted for the bill, despite recognizing that a key clause is going to have wildly stupid consequences. And that’s basically all you need to know about why Florida will never become the tech hub it pretends it wants to be.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Florida Man Signs Blatantly Corrupt And Unconstitutional Social Media Bill, Cementing Florida As Tech Laughing Stock”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
107 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'All animals are equal, political animals are more equal though'

“My concern is about potential candidates, about crazy people, Nazis and child molesters and pedophiles who realize they can say anything they want … if all they do is fill out those two pieces of paper,” said Fine, R-Brevard County.

‘So… you’re not voting for it?’

‘Are you kidding, those first two groups are our party’s bread-and-butter these days of course I’m voting for it!’

Nothing like voicing concern that ‘crazy people, nazis and child molesters’ will be able to say whatever they want without consequences if the bill is passed only to vote in favor of that bill to show just how much they actually care about those groups.

On a more general note gotta love the 1984 reference in favor of a government bill to force private companies to host speech and users that they don’t want, pretty sure he and his are not on the side of that comparison they think they are.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'All animals are equal, political animals are more equal

"Only the first two?"

For all the republicans kept harping about democrats who were friendly with Epstein they’re remarkably mum about that guy’s tenure as the former president 45’s best friend. If you’re in Epstein’s black book with 16 phone numbers next to your name it’s an indicator you relied heavily on him to matchmake your dates.

On the whole if you’re looking for someone who has freakish yet legal and possibly embarrasing sexual escapades, talk to the democrats.

If you’re looking for someone who has a casual disregard for age of consent or consent in general, look no further than the one screaming the loudest about morality. Usually with an (R) next to their name.

"Every accusation, a confession" should be the new motto of the GOP.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Save up to 100% on Techdirt goodies! -- Just read. says:

Re: OMG! "say anything they want"! -- Just like 1A spe

India knows that the only way to treat censoring corporations from becoming de facto Royalty is with armed men:

Delhi Police Raid Twitter Office in India After Social Media Giant Labels Tweet From Right-Wing Political Spox "Manipulated Media" (VIDEO)

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/05/delhi-police-raid-twitter-office-india-social-media-giant-labels-tweet-right-wing-political-spox-manipulated-media-video/

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Koby (profile) says:

You Wish Government Could Do It Too

I mean, I just can’t even bother to respond to this nonsense.

Normally, if a government were to use secret algorithms against its citizens to dole out punishment, and silence free speech, you would come out against it. But because a corporation is doing it, and you approve of its politics, you shall remain silent.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You Wish Government Could Do It Too

if a government were to use secret algorithms against its citizens to dole out punishment

Since when does Twitter have the power to put me in jail and execute me?

God your a fucking idiot!

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Give me a minute, I'm sure it'll come to me

Blast, I know there’s some sort of difference between the government telling people what speech they will and will not allow/host on their private property and a private property owner setting rules of acceptable behavior for their own property but I just can’t place it…

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rocky says:

Re: You Wish Government Could Do It Too

Hey Koby, I want you to show us examples of speech social media has "censored" and how the speaker was punished in the same way a government would. Can you do that? It shouldn’t be that difficult for you to find those examples since you have been harping about it for a very long time now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You Wish Government Could Do It Too

Facebook cannot silence you because it cannot stop you speaking out on other platforms. Just because the platforms that you can speak on are not popular indicates that the speech that they carry is often offensive to people. So long as you have any platform that you can speak on, you are taking part in the public conversation, as some on those platforms will summarise you words, and let other know what is being said on those platforms.

Canis Dirus says:

Re: You Wish Government Could Do It Too

It clearly within the law that they can do so. This law that was passed violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies.

It will be challenged by literally everyone because its easily a win for them. Won’t even take that long to die. Companies are safe to ignore this shit.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You Wish Government Could Do It Too

Normally, if a government were to use secret algorithms against its citizens to dole out punishment

What would you actually do with the ‘secret algorithms’ if you had them? It’s not like any of you fuckers can math. Hell, you have a problem with people fucking counting. What in the fuck would you do with something you can’t use your fingers & toes to figure out?

And what makes you think it’s some ‘secret algorithm’ as opposed to an ‘asshole detector?’ I mean, you’re never going to find resolution when you assume it’s a plot against you, as opposed to the possibility that you’re just an asshole. Have you ever even considered that any material that has been taken down had been taken down because a member of your contacts reported you for (wait for it…) being an asshole? I’m guessing when it comes time to put up or shut up when the question of ‘what exactly was taken down?’ comes up, that’s why you assholes are so quiet.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Save up to 100% on Techdirt goodies! -- Just read. says:

You know, kids, IF the tide reverses, YOU will be targets!

And you’ve disarmed yourselves by okaying censoring of "crazies" and "insurrectionists" — needs only for those labels be applied to you.

Oh, and you cannot trust your new tech overlords, either! Their plans don’t include you, not even YOU, Maz, just another kibitzer.

Authoritarians are NOT ideologues. They’ll censor anyone, just for fun.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Save up to 100% on Techdirt goodies! -- Just read. says:

Re: You know, kids, IF the tide reverses, YOU will be targets!

A bit of trouble at first getting in today, had to "submit" a couple dozen times, then obviously allowed. Maz is desperate for comments, only reason, as first got "Techdirt not accepting proxy", apparently from Cloudflap.

sumgai (profile) says:

Re: You know, kids, IF the tide reverses, YOU will be targets!

… not even YOU, Maz, just another kibitzer.

Oh! I truly did not know that Congress invited kibitzers to testify on matters such as these at bar!

That causes me to wonder though, just how many readers here have been requested/summoned to testify at a hearing before any Congressional committee or sub-committee…. Perhaps you, 100 percenter, have you had the opportunity to speak, in public, in front of several Congress persons at the same time, mmmmmmm?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
William C Bonner (profile) says:

Would it be cheaper to buy a theme park than pay the legal fight

I know that we are all better off if this law is struck down in the courts, but it seems to me that Twitter and Facebook could easily afford to buy a small theme park just to prove how ridiculous this law is.

Darkness Of Course (profile) says:

Re: Would it be cheaper to buy a theme park than pay the legal f

In a science fiction story from my youth there was a spaceman that was fighting the good fight, went to a disputed star system and set up a one man spy site inside a comet/asteroid/small something or other.

Took him to trial for spying. His reply: I wasn’t spying, I was establishing a colony.

Colony being the trigger, as that was the other side’s justification for occupying a different system.

How big is a theme park?
I’m sure I could set one up in a parking spot. They log in to the special website and see the entire theme. Outside of the actual "theme park", its just a normal social media site, raking in cash, digging for big data, and ML additional levels of useless information to make the big bucks.

Bonus: Our Theme Park has the highest occupancy numbers for any such park in the country.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

"Every day, they act as the proverbial Big Brother, and 2021 looks an awful lot like the fictitious 1984."

Mmmm irony… tasty tasty irony.

This is the man who told people to not believe their own eyes or ears but only to listen to Big Pumpkin right?

This is the man who sent his paramilitary force to harass & intimidate someone who spoke truth?

This is the man responsible for a huge number of deaths during his entire tenure & then threatened to close a vaccination site if they weren’t nice to him?

This is the man who killed his citizens to appease Big Pumpkin pretending the pandemic was just an evil Soros plot?

This is the man who allowed multiple super spreader events because the economy mattered more than lives?

Is he a cop?
They are the only ones who can willfully kill this many people and not get charged.

If you lie to citizens & it leads to their death…. that should be a crime right?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Glenn says:

Before Trump I never knew how cowardly Republicans are. And, apparently, cowardice has become the overriding character trait of conservatives. Their fear of losing–fear even of a fair fight–has made them traitors to everything America has traditionally stood for–even when the reality fell short of the dream. To quote MAGA-moron: sad, so sad.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

So some more idiots can be reminded again that if you don’t like being constrained by the first amendment don’t work for the government, because that’s all that one really said, that if you work for the government and use your social media account for official government business the first amendment applies to you/that account and you can’t just block people because you don’t like them.

Yeah, I don’t see that one being overturned any time soon as you’d need to toss or seriously change the legal interpretation of the first amendment beforehand.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Dunno about that. It appears that a lot of people with (D)s after their name are tweeting "Uncle Tim" and "Hitler was right" lately.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/twitter-removes-uncle-tim-from-trending-topics-after-senator-scott-attacked-over-biden-rebuttal-speech/ar-BB1gbJod

https://nypost.com/2021/05/24/17000-tweet-hitler-was-right-and-big-tech-barely-reacts/

Love for a lot of those people to be unmasked.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

That Guy says:

Totally censorious

I completely agree. Not allowing people to kick others off of their platform or prevent them from voicing their opinions based on their identity is completely censoring the opinions of the people who have complete control of the forum or platform. Except when blacks and women weren’t allowed to vote, when gays weren’t allowed to force a company to bake cakes for them displaying a message they didn’t agree with,when white men didn’t allow others to speak in public forae or when communist college students weren’t allowed to advocate for communism in colleges that supported capitalism. In those cases,the platforms and forae had to be sued or forced by the federal government to allow speech they didn’t agree with,and it was not censorious,because it was a group of people whoe we like not being allowed to speak. We’re not looking to allow landlords to prevent BLM supporters or antifa from renting their properties or anything like that. What we want is for multibillion dollar international corporations to be able to silence or prevent from speaking about 70 million Americans who have opinions we DON’T like, so that we can peacefully uphold and practice democracy with only the people who agree with us.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
nasch (profile) says:

Re: Totally censorious

What we want is for multibillion dollar international corporations to be able to silence or prevent from speaking about 70 million Americans who have opinions we DON’T like, so that we can peacefully uphold and practice democracy with only the people who agree with us.

What we want is for the constitution and private property rights to be respected.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Totally censorious

What we want is for multibillion dollar international corporations to be able to silence or prevent from speaking about 70 million Americans who have opinions we DON’T like, so that we can peacefully uphold and practice democracy with only the people who agree with us.

Uh-huh.

What you want is for multibillion dollar international corporations to be able to force an audience to listen to about 70 million Americans who have opinions that are batshit crazy, despite thinking that they’re assholes.

Sorry pal. You’re not being censored because of your political views. You’re being kicked out because you’re assholes. If you’d like that to stop, the solution is to either fuck off and go somewhere else or stop being an asshole. It isn’t difficult. It just means you have to recognize that the problem is you.

If that hurts your feelings, believe me, I don’t care. You reap what you sow – so get over it, snowflake. Fuck your feelings. Sound familiar?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Everyone else can pick your other bullshit apart, but I want to focus on one thing:

when gays weren’t allowed to force a company to bake cakes for them displaying a message they didn’t agree with

Now, can you spot the mistake you’ve made?

I’ll give you a second to figure it out. Feel free to Google “Masterpiece Cakeshop” if you need a hint.

…okay, time’s up! Your mistake was your entire assertion.

Masterpiece Cakeshop lost the anti-discrimination lawsuit filed against it at every level but the Supreme Court on the merits. (SCOTUS kicked it back on a technicality while refusing to rule on the merits, the cowards.) In that case, the cakeshop refused to sell even a basic wedding cake — an item offered to the general public — to a gay couple. The would-be customers never got as far as saying how they wanted the cake decorated because they were never able to purchase a wedding cake in the first place.

When a business opens its doors to the public, it must offer to all customers equal access to the same “menu” (e.g., services, items). That business doesn’t get to decide who makes up “the public”. It has to operate under all applicable laws — including non-discrimination ordinances. For example: A public-facing meat shop can’t offer kosher meat only to Jewish customers. That said, the meat shop is under no obligation to sell kosher meat even if a Jewish customer asks for it.

Your mistake — which is the same mistake every anti-queer bigot makes when talking about the Masterpiece case — was believing the courts forced the bakery to both bake a cake for the would-be customers and decorate said cake per the wishes of that couple. At no point in the case did any court force Masterpiece to decorate a wedding cake with pro-gay messaging. At no point in the case did any court force Masterpiece to bake a wedding cake for a gay customer. (And the bakery voluntarily stopped selling wedding cakes to avoid running afoul of the law again.) Your entire assertion rests on a lie spread by bigots who want paint queer people as Rainbow Fascists who are using the law to force Christian Americans — the most oppressed majority in the history of the world~! — into showing support for queer people. That you’ve bought into the lie is…telling.

No one can compel a bakery, a T-shirt printer, or any other business to print speech with which that business doesn’t want to associate — regardless of the political leanings of the business or the would-be customer. I wouldn’t want an anti-gay baker forced to make a cake with pro-gay messaging any more than I would want a pro-gay baker forced to make a cake with anti-gay messaging.

This has been an educational moment for you. Learn something from it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Totally censorious

A single or few companies cannot silence people, as they can use alternative sites to publish their speech. Also, the idea that all views should be allowed on a single platform is something that political parties do not support or do. A political conversation can be posts on one site, and post arguing against on a different site, and remain available for people who want to decide which party to support.

Also, given the reasons why people ate thrown off of the popular platforms, their real complaint is not that they can’t be heard, but rather than cannot get in the face of those that they wish to denigrate, and tell them how evil, or wrong they are.

Anonymous Coward says:

“My concern is about potential candidates, about crazy people, Nazis and child molesters and pedophiles who realize they can say anything they want … if all they do is fill out those two pieces of paper,” said Fine, R-Brevard County.

So, if I’m in my bunker building my latest web site kinder.dot.wunderbar – where I’ve put a lot of work in to tapping the underserved nazi pedophile child molester market with the same sort of cynical marketing that pinkwashing corporations have been directing against women, LGBTQ and every other niche for years – and someone barges in to spam adverts for a tacky Florida theme park that feeds little children to alligators – shouldn’t I be free to moderate or block this spam from my own site?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...