A federal judge has temporarily prevented Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from implementing legislation allowing state residents to sue the country’s largest technology companies over their content moderation policies.
The law was scheduled to go into effect on Thursday.
In a preliminary injunction issued on Wednesday, the judge sided with two trade associations that argued parts of the law may violate the First Amendment by requiring social media sites to host speech they otherwise would not and by interfering with their editorial judgment.
The plaintiffs also took issue with the fact that legislation targets large technology companies and not smaller companies that operate in similar – if not identical – ways.
The judge noted that the legislation was an effort to rein in providers that were deemed "too large and too liberal."
"Balancing the exchange of ideas among private speakers is not a legitimate governmental interest," U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote.
NetChoice, one of the trade associations involved, said it was "elated" by the ruling in a statement on Wednesday.
"America’s judiciary system is designed to protect our constitutional rights, and today’s ruling is no different, ensuring that Florida’s politically motivated law does not force Floridians to endure racial epithets, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings, or other gruesome content just to use the internet," the group’s statement read.
A spokesperson for DeSantis did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment about the judge’s ruling on Wednesday.
It allows residents to fight back against de-platforming and censorship, allowing them to sue tech companies for up to $100,000 in damages for each proven claim in a bid to ensure companies are more transparent about their content moderation practices.
The law requires companies to detail how they reach conclusions about content moderation and stick to those standards consistently.
The Florida Attorney General will also be able to bring action against tech companies that violate the law, which prohibits the de-platforming of political candidates as well.
DeSantis has been critical of what he views as censorship engaged in by the company’s largest technology companies and has accused platforms like YouTube of attempting to stamp out ideas that go against its "narrative."
"I think what we’re really witnessing is Orwellian," DeSantis said last month. "It’s a big tech, corporate-media collusion and the end result is that the narrative is always right."
The Republican governor made those comments after a roundtable he hosted was removed from YouTube due to comments made about the need for children to wear masks in school, which the company said contradicted the consensus of local and global health authorities.