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Florida’s new House Bill 991 proposes a laundry list of legal changes that would make it easier for plaintiffs to bring and win defamation cases. It would also weaponize the law to allow the powerful to silence their critics.
The bill’s sponsor makes no secret that the intended target of this bill is the news media. And given the widespread public dissatisfaction with the media, this bill promises to be popular, and easily spun by politicians as a way of making the media accountable.
But it isn’t just irresponsible media actors that get hit with defamation actions. Whether we’re using Twitter, TikTok, Substack, or any other self-publishing platform, we’re all publishers now. That should make us all cautious about defamation law reforms that strongly tilt to one side.