May 24, 2021

Wyden Statement on Unconstitutional Florida Social Media Law

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement on Florida’s unconstitutional new law requiring private websites to host politicians’ posts online:

“Following Donald Trump's lead, Republican-led states are determined to pass laws to force websites and apps to host lies, misinformation and other slime, with full knowledge that those laws are unconstitutional. The latest such example out of Florida – which compels online sites to host the speech of politicians – is particularly egregious, and an invitation for extremists, racists and liars to register as political candidates just to keep their posts online.

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution – backstopped by Section 230 – makes it abundantly clear that states have no power to compel private companies to host speech, especially from politicians. People eager to chip away at core First Amendment protections for speech must remember that the consequences won't just impact content they dislike – they’ll apply to everything. Government control of speech on, or off-line, will inevitably be abused by those in power, as made crystal clear by Republican state legislatures at home, and governments abroad like India and China that are already censoring critics.”