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Florida law will regulate how social media companies moderate speech

Florida Monday became the first state in the U.S. to broadly regulate social media platforms' moderation of user speech online.

Driving the news: Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law fining social media services that permanently ban candidates running for office in Florida.


  • The law also prevents platforms from removing content from news outlets above a certain size.
  • It allows people to sue platforms if they think social media companies are inconsistently applying their content rules.

Yes, but: Legal experts expect the law to face constitutional challenges.

  • Corbin Barthold, internet policy counsel at tech policy think tank TechFreedom, called it a "First Amendment train wreck."

Of note: Companies are exempt from the law if they own a theme park or another type of entertainment venue bigger than 25 acres.

  • That gives Florida-based Disney and Universal Studios a pass on the new online rules.

What they're saying: "If Big Tech censors enforce rules consistently to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable," DeSantis said, describing the bill as a recourse for Florida residents who think they've been unfairly treated by tech companies.

  • On a call with reporters, officials from DeSantis' office said they were confident the law would stand up to legal scrutiny.

What to watch: Other states have considered similar bills, but this is the first to make it to a governor's desk.

  • Republican ire with tech companies and content moderation policies has risen steadily, especially after former President Donald Trump lost his Twitter and Facebook accounts following the January 6 Capitol riot.

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When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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