Hurwitz Quoted on Consequences of Florida Social Media Legislation, Potential FTC Action

Thu, 08/05/2021

NGTC Director Gus Hurwitz was recently quoted in Bloomberg Law and various ABC publications, commenting on questions regarding whether FTC Chair Lina Khan should recuse herself in matters related to Amazon, and the consequences of a Florida law that would compel internet platforms to host content with which they disagree.

  • Bloomberg Law- The legal-news outlet reported that Amazon is seeking to remove FTC Chair Lina Khan in her oversight role over the company’s affairs. Khan had previously wrote an article entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” as a law review note when she was a student at Yale University, in which she called for breaking up the company. In the quote, Hurwitz notes that a superficially similar instance of past recusal involved a circumstance in which an FTC commissioner had previously worked as a lawyer for Google. “If the FTC is making rules or bringing a court case against Amazon, that’s where I think she’ll be on the strongest grounds,” Hurwitz said.
  • ABC- The piece concerned a piece of legislation in Florida called S.B. 7072, which allows the state to fine large tech companies up to $250,000 per day if they attempt to ban a political candidate for state office and $25,000 a day for removing the account of a local candidate. It also gives Florida’s attorney general power to sue companies under the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act, and it allows individuals to sue for up to $100,000 if they feel content rules were applied inconsistently. Hurwitz, an expert on telecommunications law and technology, argued that there is “no question” S.B. 7072 violates the current understanding of the First Amendment. “Requiring platforms to host content with which they disagree is compelled speech, just like a university requiring loyalty oaths, requiring students to profess belief in ideas they find objectionable, or requiring newspapers to publish op-eds the editorial board disagrees with,” Hurwitz said.
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