The new social media law aims to protect the online voices of politicians

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new social media law went into effect in Florida on Friday. The law aims to have social media companies silence political candidates.

SB 7072 prohibits social media platforms from de-platforming a candidate for political office or a journalistic venture. The new social media law signed into law by Gov. DeSantis is one of many laws that went into effect on July 1.

The Florida Elections Commission will now closely monitor how Facebook, Youtube and Twitter moderate what politicians say online. Social media platforms can be fined over $200,000 a day for suspending the accounts of candidates for statewide office, and $25,000 a day for any other candidate.

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Gov. DeSantis said Floridians would receive “guaranteed protection from Silicon Valley elites.”

After Twitter and Facebook banned former President Donald Trump from the platform following the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, Florida created legislation to regulate how social media companies moderate online speeches.

News4JAX spoke to Jason Pratt, founder of marketing and advertising agency Prattify, who said the internet is still considered the Wild Wild West.

“We will see many changes. We’ll see a lot right. The fact that an ain’t tech company banned President Trump from the internet, from his platform, I should say, ‘sorry, we knew there was going to be a lot of things for sure,'” Pratt said.

He said while the fines are a lot of money – tech giants have grown and are very different from media companies of the past. Although Pratt said he thinks it’s important to keep the internet as open as possible, he still calls the process a difficult situation.

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“We are now in the infancy of the internet, certainly social media, where now the law wants to step in and change things and censor things. Keeping the balance between security and openness, preserving the Internet and focusing on its security is certainly always a challenge and a difficult point,” Pratt said. “Every time you sign up for accounts, they have the user agreements. People don’t usually read them and sign them. Maybe it would help if we had some sort of bullet point version of this for the layperson to read and feel comfortable knowing what could make you leave this platform.”

The new law also states that social media platforms must make it clear how and why they are removing or leaving content open.

Pratt said this law is something that social media companies are aware of and will keep in mind.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

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