Florida Lawmaker Introduces 'Stop Social Media Censorship Act' to Protect Free Speech Online

Florida State Senator Joe Gruters (R) has introduced a bill to protect free speech on social media and fine the biggest sites a minimum of $75,000 in statutory damages if they delete or censor a user's religious or political speech.

The law would only apply to social media sites with "more than 75 million subscribers" which are "open to the public" and from their inception have "not been specifically affiliated with any one religion or political party."

The bill also prohibits large social media sites from citing so-called "hate speech" as a justification for political and religious censorship and authorizes the Attorney General to "bring a civil cause of action ... on behalf of a social media website user who resides in this state and whose religious speech or political speech has been censored..."

The bill makes clear it would allow social media sites to censor "calls for immediate acts of violence," "obscene or pornographic" material, that which "entices criminal conduct" and that which "involves minors bullying minors."

Here's the full text of Sen. Gruters' bill, SB 1722:

1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to social media websites; providing a
3 short title; defining terms; providing that the owner
4 or operator of a social media website is subject to a
5 private right of action by a social media website user
6 in this state under certain conditions; providing
7 damages; authorizing the award of reasonable attorney
8 fees and costs; prohibiting a social media website
9 from using hate speech as a defense; authorizing the
10 Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of a
11 social media website user; providing exceptions for
12 the deletion or censure of certain types of speech;
13 providing an effective date.
14
15 WHEREAS, this state has a compelling interest in holding
16 certain social media websites to higher standards for having
17 substantially created a digital public square, and
18 WHEREAS, this state has an interest in helping its citizens
19 enjoy their free exercise of rights in certain semi-public
20 forums commonly used for religious and political speech, NOW,
21 THEREFORE,
22
23 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
24
25 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Stop Social Media
26 Censorship Act”.
27 Section 2. Social media website speech; cause of action;
28 penalties.—
29 (1) As used in this section, the term:
30 (a) “Algorithm” means a set of instructions designed to
31 perform a specific task.
32 (b) “Hate speech” means a phrase concerning content that an
33 individual finds offensive based on his or her personal moral
34 code.
35 (c) “Obscene” means that an average person, applying
36 contemporary community standards, would find that, taken as a
37 whole, the dominant theme of the material appeals to prurient
38 interests.
39 (d) “Political speech” means speech relating to the state,
40 government, body politic, or public administration as it relates
41 to governmental policymaking. The term includes speech by the
42 government or candidates for office and any discussion of social
43 issues. The term does not include speech concerning the
44 administration, law, or civil aspects of government.
45 (e) “Religious speech” means a set of unproven answers,
46 truth claims, faith-based assumptions, and naked assertions that
47 attempt to explain such greater questions as how the world was
48 created, what constitutes right and wrong actions by humans, and
49 what happens after death.
50 (f) “Social media website” means an Internet website or
51 application that enables users to communicate with each other by
52 posting information, comments, messages, or images and that
53 meets all of the following requirements:
54 1. Is open to the public;
55 2. Has more than 75 million subscribers; and
56 3. From its inception, has not been specifically affiliated
57 with any one religion or political party.
58 (2)(a) The owner or operator of a social media website who
59 contracts with a social media website user in this state is
60 subject to a private right of action by such user if the social
61 media website purposely:
62 1. Deletes or censors the user’s religious speech or
63 political speech; or
64 2. Uses an algorithm to disfavor or censure the user’s
65 religious speech or political speech.
66 (b) A social media website user may be awarded all of the
67 following damages under this section:
68 1. A minimum of $75,000 in statutory damages per purposeful
69 deletion or censoring of the social media website user’s speech.
70 2. Actual damages.
71 3. If aggravating factors are present, punitive damages.
72 4. Other forms of equitable relief.
73 (c) The prevailing party in a cause of action under this
74 section may be awarded costs and reasonable attorney fees.
75 (d) A social media website that restores from deletion or
76 removes the censoring of a social media website user’s speech in
77 a reasonable amount of time may use that fact to mitigate any
78 damages.
79 (3) A social media website may not use the social media
80 website user’s alleged hate speech as a basis for justification
81 or defense of the social media website’s actions at trial.
82 (4) The Attorney General may also bring a civil cause of
83 action under this section on behalf of a social media website
84 user who resides in this state and whose religious speech or
85 political speech has been censored by a social media website.
86 (5) This section does not apply to any of the following:
87 (a) A social media website that deletes or censors a social
88 media website user’s speech or that uses an algorithm to
89 disfavor or censure speech that:
90 1. Calls for immediate acts of violence;
91 2. Is obscene or pornographic in nature;
92 3. Is the result of operational error;
93 4. Is the result of a court order;
94 5. Comes from an inauthentic source or involves false
95 impersonation;
96 6. Entices criminal conduct; or
97 7. Involves minors bullying minors.
98 (b) A social media website user’s censoring of another
99 social media website user’s speech.
100 (6) Only users who are 18 years of age or older have
101 standing to seek enforcement of this act.
102 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.

This is a superb bill which every Floridian needs to pressure their representatives to get behind and state lawmakers across the country need to introduce in their own states as well.

read the rest here: https://www.informationliberation.com/?id=59882

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Voice of sanity....

Yes apparently there's still some sanity left around. I wonder how far this bill will get.

Considering that the "voice of sanity" is coming from within an asylum where he is surrounded by the criminally insane, I doubt it will get very far, if it even gets heard.

What's the point of having a Constitution if we need laws like this? #FirstAmendment

You're right of course. This situation illustrates how the Lefty/Globalists are presently using the Constitution as a door mat.

Exactly!

That being said a corporation is a creature creation of the state. Therefore if the state is prohibited from silencing it's population freedom of political speech. Can the states creation do so also?  The answer is those corporation have exceeded their authority and by law Quo Warranto can have their corporations taken from them by the states. 

Quo Warranto
A writ of quo warranto is not a petition, but a notice of demand, issued by a demandant, to a respondant claiming some delegated power, and filed with a court of competent jurisdiction, to hold a hearing within 3 to 20 days, depending on the distance of the respondant to the court, to present proof of his authority to execute his claimed powers. If the court finds the proof insufficient, or if the court fails to hold the hearing, the respondant must cease to exercise the power. If the power is to hold an office, he must vacate the office.
The writ is unlike a petition or motion to show cause, because the burden of proof is on the respondant, not on the demandant.
By itself, the writ does not seek the support of the court to order the respondant to cease the exercise or vacate the office. That would be an accompanying writ of prohibito or a writ of mandamus. All such writs contemplate enforcement by the people as militia, although that could include the sheriff or constable as commander of militia. The right involved is that of the respondant to present his evidence.

These writs are called prerogative writs because they are supposed to be docketed ahead of all other cases except other prerogative writs. The demandant represents the sovereign, the people, and anyone may appear in that capacity, even without a personal stake in the decision.
A writ of habeas corpus may be regarded as a subset of quo warranto, for cases where the claimed power is to hold a prisoner, but with the addition of a requirement to produce the prisoner in court, not just appear to present evidence of authority.
The prerogative writ of quo warranto has been suppressed at the federal level in the United States, and deprecated at the state level, but remains a right under the Ninth Amendment, which was understood and presumed by the Founders, and which affords the only judicial remedy for violations of the Constitution by public officials and agents. Here are a few writings on the subject. Revival of the writs must be combined with reviving standing for private prosecution of public rights, subverted by the "cases and controversies" doctrine and the decision in Frothingham v. Mellon, 262 U.S. 447 (1923), which is discussed in an article by Steve Winter, The Metaphor of Standing and the Problem of Self-Governance.

Although some of these writings are copyrighted, we are assured that all the chapters of all the ones still copyrighted have been attached to pleadings in various cases, and thus made part of the public record, thereby putting them into the public domain.
A critical key to achieving federal constitutional compliance is to resurrect quo warranto and other common law writs. This involves reasserting and strengthening the original All-Writs Act and repealing or declaring unconstitutional legislation, such as the Tax Anti-Injunction Act, and those Rules of Judicial Procedure, that have restricted the jurisdiction of federal courts to accept these writs and grant a fair hearing ("oyer") and a decision on the merits ("terminer") on such demands.
For further reading:
The Practice of Extraordinary Remedies, Chester James Antieau, 1987, Chapter on Quo Warranto.
A Treatise on Extraordinary Legal Remedies, Embracing Mandamus, Quo Warranto and Prohibition, James L. High, 1896, Section on Quo Warranto.
A Treatise on the Legal Remedies of Mandamus and Prohibition, Habeas Corpus, Certiorari, and Quo Warranto, Horace G. Wood, 1896, Section on Quo Warranto.
Statute of Quo Warranto (1290) — Codified the writ of quo warranto as a pleading in English courts, and laid the basis for the writ of habeas corpus.
Useful quotes:
"Jurisdiction can be challenged at any time." Basso v. Utah Power & Light Co., 495 F 2nd 906 at 910.
"It is axiomatic that the prosecution must always prove territorial jurisdiction over a crime in order to sustain a conviction therefore." U.S. v. Benson, 495 F.2d, at 481 (5th Cir., 1974).
"The law provides that once State and Federal Jurisdiction has been challenged, it must be proven." Main v. Thiboutot, 100 S. Ct. 2502 (1980).
"Where there is absence of proof of jurisdiction, all administrative and judicial proceedings are a nullity, and confer no right, offer no protection, and afford no justification, and may be rejected upon direct collateral attack." Thompson v Tolmie, 2 Pet. 157, 7 L. Ed. 381; and Griffith v. Frazier, 8 Cr. 9, 3 L. Ed. 471.
"the burden of proving jurisdiction rests upon the party asserting it." Bindell v. City of Harvey, 212 Ill.App.3d 1042, 571 N.E.2d 1017 (1st Dist. 1991).
Home » Founding Documents
Original URL: http://www.constitution.org/writ/quo_warranto.htm
Maintained: Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 2003/1/4 — Last updated: 2019/3/19

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