Babylon Bee, Not the Bee Urge Federal Court to Uphold Florida Law that Prevents Social Media Censorship

Satire and news websites identify multiple instances of viewpoint-targeted censorship and shadow-banning by social media platforms

ATLANTA, Sept. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of the Babylon Bee LLC and Not the Bee LLC in NetChoice LLC, et al. v. Attorney General of Florida, et al. In that case, the court will review a Florida law that prohibits social media platforms from inconsistently applying their content standards to target disfavored speakers or viewpoints.

You can read the brief here.

“Social media giants have lied to the public about allowing intellectual diversity on their platforms and are selectively applying their standards to censor disfavored conservative and religious speech,” said Jordan Pratt, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “Florida’s law is a basic consumer-protection regulation that simply holds social media platforms accountable to the image of neutrality that they project, and it is consistent with federal law and the First Amendment.”

“We just want the tech companies to be transparent about what the rules are and then apply them equally,” said Seth Dillon, CEO of Babylon Bee. “At a minimum, we want social media platforms to evenhandedly apply their content standards.”

In 2021, the Florida legislature adopted a new consumer-protection law that requires social media platforms to announce and consistently apply their content standards. The Babylon Bee, LLC, is a Florida-based Christian satire website that sheds light on faith, politics, and culture through humor and parody. Not the Bee, LLC, is a Christian news website that runs entirely accurate headlines one might expect to find in The Bee. Both sites have experienced censorship and shadow-banning by social media platforms.

According to First Liberty’s brief, “As Not the Bee has painstakingly documented in its headlines, America’s social media titans have shattered Congress’s expectations for a user-centric, free, and intellectually diverse Internet by repeatedly targeting conservative viewpoints for censorship through the selective and inconsistent application of ever-shifting ‘standards.’” The brief further states, “Censoring, deplatforming, and shadow-banning targeted viewpoints—including journalistic enterprises—through inconsistent application of standards is hardly motivated by ‘honesty in belief or purpose.’ It certainly doesn’t align with what social media companies tell the public. Nowhere in Twitter’s, Facebook’s, or Instagram’s user agreements will one find a provision announcing that their standards will be applied one way for conservatives, and another way for everyone else. Systematically inconsistent censorship under cover of supposedly neutral standards is dishonesty, plain and simple.”

About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

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