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Arguments are set for May in a battle over Florida's law regulating social media platforms


A federal appeals court is slated to hear arguments in mid-May in a battle about a Florida law that would put restrictions on companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a notice this week that said arguments will be heard during the week of May 16 in Miami, though the notice did not specify an exact date. The state took the case to the Atlanta-based appeals court after U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in June issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from being enforced, saying it was “riddled with imprecision and ambiguity.”

The law, passed during the 2021 legislative session, was a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans who accused social-media platforms of censorship. DeSantis championed the issue after former President Donald Trump was blocked from Facebook and Twitter after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In part, the measure seeks to prevent large social-media companies from barring political candidates from their platforms and would require companies to publish --- and apply consistently --- standards about issues such as blocking users.

The industry groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association filed a lawsuit contending that the law would violate First Amendment rights and harm companies’ efforts to moderate content. Hinkle sided with the groups, finding that they “are likely to prevail on the merits of their claim that these statutes violate the First Amendment.”