Florida State Senator and GOP Leader Joe Gruters will announce a bill next week that will allow Floridians to sue social media companies that censor their political speech, and will restrict the ability of social media companies to use “hate speech” policies as a legal defense for censorship.
The bill will be announced at a press conference on January 21 at 3:00 p.m. est at the State Capitol building in Tallahassee.
The bill, which can be read in full at the Florida Senate website, awards a minimum of $75,000 in damages against social media companies that: “Deletes or censors the user’s religious speech or political speech; or uses an algorithm to disfavor or censure the user’s religious speech or political speech.”
The bill also prohibits social media companies from using “the social media website user’s alleged hate speech as a basis for justification or defense of the social media website’s actions at trial.”
Damages may be mitigated if a social media company “restores from deletion or removes the censoring of a social media website user’s speech in a reasonable amount of time.”
The provisions of the bill only apply to religious and political speech. It will not apply to cases where a social media user has been censored for speech that “calls for immediate acts of violence, is obscene or pornographic in nature, is the result of operational error, is the result of a court order, comes from an inauthentic source or involves false personation, entices criminal conduct, or involves bullying minors.”
Gruters will be joined at the press conference by FL 21 Republican primary candidate Laura Loomer, who has been banned on every major social media platform, and currently has filed lawsuits in Florida against Twitter, CAIR, Facebook, and has another antitrust lawsuit against Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple that will be heard before the Washington D.C. circuit court of appeals.
Facebook has said that it won’t censor politicians and that “freedom of expression is an absolute founding principle for Facebook,” however Loomer is one of a number of political candidates, including England’s Tommy Robinson, who have been banned by the platform. The social network confirmed in November that politicians will not be allowed to use the platform if they have previously been banned.
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.