Trump files brief urging SCOTUS to uphold Florida law penalizing censorship

by Samantha Flom

Photo: Alamy

As the state of Florida fends off legal challenges over its attempts to hold social media platforms accountable, President Donald J. Trump is jumping into the fray.

On Friday, Trump’s legal team filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of Florida’s Senate Bill 7072, a law Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., signed last year that forbids the banning or removal of political candidates from social media platforms and establishes transparency requirements for when users are censored.

“Florida’s law is an attempt to ensure that Platforms state their censorship policies and apply them consistently,” Trump’s legal team wrote Friday. “Sections (2)(a) and (2)(b) are in perfect harmony with long-standing common-law prohibitions against unfair discrimination by common carriers. A review of NetChoice will provide urgent clarity to legislatures across the nation as to how they can ensure their residents have access to the ‘modern public square.’”

NetChoice, an association of tech companies that includes Google, Twitter, and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is challenging SB 7072, which states, “A social media platform may not willfully deplatform a candidate for office who is known by the social media platform to be a candidate, beginning on the date of qualification and ending on the date of the election or the date the candidate ceases to be a candidate.”

The law further states that platforms must provide a way for users to identify themselves as political candidates and those platforms that violate this law may be fined up to $250,000 per day for candidates for statewide office and up to $25,000 per day for other offices.

As Trump’s amicus brief notes, the 45th president filed class action lawsuits against social media giants Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube last year after his ousting from the platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter was dismissed earlier this year, but he and the other associated plaintiffs have since appealed that decision. Pending the final outcome, his lawsuits against YouTube and Facebook have been stayed.

Explaining the lawsuits last year in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Trump wrote: “No longer are Big Tech giants simply removing specific threats of violence. They are manipulating and controlling the political debate itself.”

Adding that, if the sitting president of the United States could be censored, anyone could, the president continued: “Through these lawsuits, I intend to restore free speech for all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents. I will never stop fighting to defend the constitutional rights and sacred liberties of the American people.”

Since filing the suits, Trump has launched his own successful social media platform, Truth Social, which just recently ranked No. 1 in the Google Play Store. Last week, it landed him back on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in the United States.

Sharing this success with his Truth Social followers on Oct. 16, the president wrote: “Did anyone happen to notice that Truth Social is Number One, ahead of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon, and all others? Just asking!” 

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