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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Two groups representing major tech companies filed a lawsuit Thursday against Florida state officials over a new law regulating how social media companies moderate online speech.

What's new: The Communications and Computer Industry Association and NetChoice, two trade groups that represent major tech firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon and fight for tech-friendly laws, argue the law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed the law, which:

  • fines social media services that permanently ban candidates running for office in Florida;
  • prevents platforms from removing content from news outlets above a certain size;
  • and allows people to sue platforms if they think social media companies are inconsistently applying their content rules.

The groups argue the law, set to go into effect July 1, violates the First Amendment by compelling platforms to host speech they'd otherwise remove.

  • They also argue it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by exempting some companies, and that its vagueness violates the due process clause of the 5th and 14th amendments.

Florida will likely argue the groups don't have standing to challenge the law.

  • "We're well-prepared to defend why we have standing," said Chris Marchese, counsel at NetChoice. "Our members will be harmed the moment this law goes into effect."

Go deeper

Democrats' next moves after a stunning SCOTUS loss on abortion

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democrats say they're itching for a political fight over abortion rights — and that it will help them in the 2022 midterms. But even if they're right, they’re still losing the war.

The big picture: The Supreme Court appears to be barreling toward rulings giving red states significantly more power to restrict women's access to abortions, if not to ban the procedure outright.

Updated Sep 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court allows Texas abortion ban to remain in place

Abortion rights advocates protest against the Texas law at the state Capitol in Austin in May. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

The Supreme Court allowed Texas' ban on most abortions in the state to remain in place in a 5-4 vote late Wednesday, rejecting an emergency application by reproductive rights groups to block the restrictive law.

Why it matters: The law, which took effect earlier Wednesday, is the most restrictive abortion ban allowed to be enforced since the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Reproductive rights groups fear the court's decision will prompt other states to pass similar laws.

Sep 2, 2021 - World

Russia threatens to fine Apple, Google over Alexei Navalny app

Alexei Navalny appears on a screen during a court hearing in Petushki, Russia, in May 2021. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatened to fine Apple and Google on Thursday if the companies did not remove an app associated with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to AP.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of Russia's crackdown on major tech companies that have been spaces for freedom of expression in the country and comes just weeks before the Sept. 19 parliamentary elections.