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Lake County lawmaker files bill to prevent 'censorship,' protect 'hate speech' on social media


Republican lawmaker Anthony Sabatini, who represents part of Lake County in the Florida Legislature, is seeking to prevent what he calls censorship and protect hate speech on social media.

Sabatini filed the Stop Social Media Censorship Act on Friday. He announced it on Twitter, saying, "Big-Tech censorship is a threat to our Republic."

Under the bill, individuals or the state could sue companies like Facebook or Twitter if they delete, censor or "disfavor" religious or political speech.

And, as a protection in court, they can't claim it was hate speech, which the bill defines as, quote, "content that an individual finds offensive" based on a moral code.

The social media giants do prohibit hate speech to prevent intimidation and violence. But they define it very differently.

On Facebook, for instance, it is, quote, "a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics." Those include race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or disability.

Sabatini's bill would also protect anything he as a candidate for office might say.

And he has been very active on Twitter insulting Democrats, poo-pooing the pandemic and posting the occasional bottle of wine.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.