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CTA Backs Opposition to Florida's Big Tech Law

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(Image credit: Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images)

The Consumer Technology Association, which represents the major tech suppliers, has joined the Computer and Communications Industry Association and NetChoice in asking a court to strike down Florida's Big Tech-targeted law, the Transparency in Technology Act.

CCIA and NetChoice, which together represent all the big players -- Amazon, Google, Twitter, Mozilla (Dish and Verizon as well) -- filed for a preliminary injunction in a Tallahassee federal district court asking it to block enforcement of the state law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, which is scheduled to go into effect July 1.

The law limits websites' Sec. 230 immunity from civil liability over their moderation of third party content, a point its language makes clear, saying: "Social media platforms have unfairly censored, shadow banned, de-platformed, and applied post-prioritization algorithms to Floridians." 

Also Read: Computer Giants Seek to Block Enforcement of Sec. 230-Limiting Bill

The bill presumes that doing so is not acting in bad faith, which means it is legally actionable, and the Republican governor signaled the state's attorney general would act if that were the case.

Republicans argue that, particularly, conservative Floridians are in danger of being censored by Silicon Valley.

Of CTA's decision to join an amicus brief with other supports of the suit, CTA President Gary Shapiro said the bill "harms Floridians, innovators and keystone American values" because it "removes the right of online service providers to exercise editorial judgment on their private property," which Shapiro called "a clear violation of the First Amendment."

But Shapiro was not done. "The bill prohibits any removal of posts by vaguely defined journalistic enterprises or anyone running for political office in the state," he said. "By exempting many users from any moderation, this provision opens the door to a torrent of harmful content – terrorist propaganda, foreign government disinformation, hate speech, fraud schemes and more. By subjecting online platforms to ambiguous and undefined moderation standards, this ill-considered law is a gift to trial lawyers, inviting a barrage of lawsuits against big and small businesses alike."