Former President Donald Trump joined 16 states in asking the US Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that blocked portions of Florida’s big tech law that regulates how social media platforms moderate content.
The former president filed an amicus brief (friend-of-the-court brief) on October 21in support of Florida’s appeal to the Court. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law in May 2021, arguing that the measure would ensure Floridians “are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites.”
Under the law, social media platforms are barred from banning political candidates and are required to offer transparency and consistency in how they apply their moderation rules.
However, tech companies sued to prevent the law from taking effect. The 11th Circuit subsequently struck down a portion of the law, concluding that “with minor exceptions, the government can’t tell a private person or entity what to say or how to say it.” In his amicus brief, the former president argued that social media platforms are “common carriers” that cannot discriminate against users.
In the brief, Trump notes that there is a “widespread and growing concern that behemoth social media platforms” use their power to silence political opposition. Trump’s amicus brief argues that Florida’s law doesn’t compel social media platforms “to carry or ban any messages” nor does it impose “rules as to what is and is not permissible.”
Instead, the law only ensures that the rules adopted by platforms are “fully disclosed and consistently applied.” Texas recently enacted a law that limits the ability of social media companies to moderate speech and requires the companies to provide public disclosure.
In September, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Texas law arguing that the law “does not chill speech” but instead “chills censorship.”