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Florida Governor Signs Bill That Fines Platforms for Extended Bans Against Political Candidates

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The law, which is likely to be challenged in court, appears to be largely aimed at preventing indefinite or permanent bans, such as those currently against former President Donald Trump.


Platforms Barred From Extended Suspensions

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law Monday that will fine social media companies if they ban political candidates in the state from their platforms for more than 14 days. 

The move makes Florida the first state in the country to successfully pass a bill that regulates how tech companies moderate their platforms.

The law itself was directly crafted in response to companies like Facebook and Twitter banning former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. 

It also comes in response to the argument among many conservatives that Big Tech is biased against them, even though that argument has been debunked in studies by institutions such as the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. 

In addition to political candidates, the law will bar platforms from restricting access to certain news outlets and their stories. For example, last year, Facebook and Twitter both suppressed the controversial “smoking gun” Hunter Biden/Ukraine story from the New York Post. 

Upon signing the bill, Governor Ron DeSantis declared that it would guarantee “protection against the Silicon Valley elites.”

“If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable,” he said. 

Details of the Law

Under the law, platforms will still retain some ability to ban political candidates as long as the suspension is less than two weeks. In large part, this appears to be aimed at preventing the types of indefinite or perma-bans that have been issued against Trump. 

If a platform extends a ban beyond the 14-day window, it can be fined up to $250,000 a day if the candidate is running for a statewide office. 

The law also requires platforms to be explicitly clear about why they take down or leave up certain content and opens up a route for banned users to be able to sue if they feel like a suspension is inconsistently applied.

Pushback

The law is likely to face constitutional challenges in court. In fact, Democrats, libertarian groups, and tech companies have all argued that it violates companies’ First Amendment rights. 

There’s also the possibility that this law could be at odds with Section 230, which gives tech companies broad immunity in terms of how they manage content. 

“By forcing websites to host speech, this bill takes us closer to a state-run internet where the government can cherry-pick winners and losers, Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel of the tech industry trade group NetChoice, said.

While many of more than 100 similar bills have already died in other states, this move from Florida could still set a precedent. In Texas, for example, another similar proposal is still being debated.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NBC News) (The Hill)

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Initial Unemployment Claims See First Rise Since April as Fed Estimates Faster Inflation Growth Than Previously Predicted

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The Fed also announced that it expects to raise interest rates in 2023, a year earlier than its previous prediction.


Unemployment Claims Rise

The Labor Department reported Thursday that, for the first time in nearly two months, weekly initial unemployment claims increased.

For the week ending on June 12, 412,000 people filed first-time claims. That’s an increase of 37,000 from the previous week’s estimate of 375,000. It’s also the highest that new claims have been in a month. 

Still, there are positive signs that the labor market is improving. For example, while last week’s continuing claims were largely unchanged from the previous week, the four-week moving average for continuing claims fell to its lowest level since March 2020. 

The Federal Reserve is also optimistic about the labor market eventually returning to form despite the country still being short 7 million jobs. Following a two-day meeting, the central bank predicted that the unemployment rate could fall back to pre-pandemic levels by 2023. 

It also expects economic growth to hit 7% this year, up from the 6.5% it predicted in March. 

Inflation Will Grow Faster Than Expected

At its meeting, the Fed said it now believes inflation will climb higher than it had previously estimated just three months ago. In March, it predicted inflation would rise about 2.4% this year. As of Wednesday, it’s expecting a 3.4% jump. 

That comes on the heels of a report from the Labor Department last week that indicated consumer prices climbed at their fastest rate since 2008 year-over-year in May. Like economists explained then, the Fed said it expects this rise in consumer prices to be temporary.

While the Fed expects the prices for some goods and services to continue to increase over the next few months because of issues such as supply bottlenecks, it also said it believes the labor market will continue to grow since the economy is finally coming out of its massive, pandemic-induced downturn in spending.

Still, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned Wednesday, “Shifts in demand can be large and rapid. Inflation could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we expect.”

Powell added that the central bank will keep a close eye on inflation and that it would respond quickly if inflation becomes broader or more persistent than current estimates. 

Interest Rates Stay at Historic Lows… For Now

Among other key points from the Fed’s meeting was its decision to move up a projection for an initial interest rate hike from 2024 to 2023. Notably, it also said there could be two rate hikes in 2023. 

That then caused some major stock indices like the Dow Jones to initially stumble, though the markets were more mixed Thursday. That’s likely at least partially because the Fed kept internet rates near a historically low zero for the time being, as expected.

Some Republican lawmakers, such as Sen. Rick Scott (Fl.), have argued that the 2023 projection is too slow, saying interest rates need to go up sooner to prevent inflation from rising too much. 

In testimony before a Senate committee on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the inflation situation is being monitored “very, very carefully” and that while prices are rising, they’re also moving back toward “normal” levels. 

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CNBC) (ABC News)

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Coca-Cola Lost $4 Billion in Market Value After Cristiano Ronaldo Hid Two Bottles During a Press Conference

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After the snub by Ronaldo, another soccer player hid a bottle of Heineken during a separate press conference Wednesday


Ronaldo Pushes Away Coke Bottles

Coca-Cola’s market value fell by $4 billion after famed soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo moved two bottles of the soda off-camera during a press conference Monday.

The incident happened just before his team’s match against Hungary at the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. After hiding the Coke bottles, Ronaldo held up an unlabeled water bottle and said “Agua,” which is Portuguese for water. 

The whole moment was likely very awkward for Coke as a company considering that it’s sponsoring the tournament; however, the situation was made tangibly worse for Coke when investors reacted by selling-off stock. That move caused its market value to fall from $242 billion to $238 billion.

Alongside that $4 billion loss, its individual share value fell 1.6%, which isn’t huge but is somewhat more notable given the fact that it was seemingly caused by one person in one moment. Ronaldo doesn’t exactly have the same level of stock market influence as that of Elon Musk on the cryptocurrency markets, and on top of that, minus several blips over the last 40 years, Coke’s stock has continued to climb overall. 

Still, it’s not a great look to have one of the world’s top athletes at a major sports tournament criticizing your sugary drink. That’s likely why a Coke spokesperson later said, “Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” and everyone has different “tastes and needs.”

“Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences,” the spokesperson added. 

In the long run, this isn’t the end of Coke by any means. As Yahoo Finance noted, “It’s unlikely Coke’s stock will stay in the penalty box for too long as the business begins to partake in the global economic recovery.”

Ronaldo’s Healthy Diet

Ronaldo is known for basically being a machine in human form. He reportedly eats up to six very-calculated and clean meals a day and will also nap up to five times a day.

In the past, Ronaldo has indicated that he avoids alcohol and carbonated drinks in order to stay in shape. Earlier this year, he even directly spoke out against Coca-Cola when talking about his 10-year-old son.

“I’m hard with him sometimes because he drinks Coca-Cola and Fanta sometimes and no… And no, I’m pissed with him. And [I fight] with him when he eats chips and fries and everything. You know, I don’t like it.”

Besides his fame on the field, Ronaldo is also the most-followed individual on Instagram, with 299 million followers.

Pogba Seemingly Takes a Note from Ronaldo

It’s possible Ronaldo could have started a trend among athletes of speaking out more against unhealthy drinks, even if they are sponsors of games or tournaments.

In fact, on Wednesday, French player Paul Pogba removed a bottle of Heineken from the camera’s view at the start of a separate press conference.

While it was later learned that the specific Heineken was non-alcoholic, many believe Pogba, who is a devout Muslim, didn’t know that at the time or still didn’t want to promote the brand.

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (Yahoo Finance) (The Athletic)

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Woman From Viral Gorilla Glue Incident Launches Hair Care Line

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While some applauded the woman for making use of her newfound attention, others said they would not trust hair products from someone who put superglue in their own hair.


Tessica Brown Launches “Forever Hair”

Tessica Brown, the woman who got Gorilla Glue spray stuck in her hair for more than a month earlier this year, has now launched her own hair care line called “Forever Hair.”

Brown was inspired to create the line after the viral incident, which came to an end when a plastic surgeon removed the adhesive during a four-hour procedure at no cost.

@im_d_ollady

Stiff where????? Ma hair 🤬🤬

♬ original sound – Tessica Brown

The line includes an $18 growth stimulating oil formulated to help with the hair loss and scalp damage she was left with, as well as a $14 hair spray and a soon-to-be-released $13 product for sleek edge control.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Brown raved about how the hair growth oil, in particular, helped her over the last two months.

“I needed this oil to one, heal my scalp. I needed it to grow my hair back. I needed it to stimulated my hair follicles, and on top of that, I needed everything to be all-natural. And in this oil, it has just that,’ she claimed.

Mixed Reactions Online

The move might not come as too much of a surprise given that Brown has likely spent the last few months focusing on her hair’s health.

Still, the reactions on social media have been mixed.

Some have applauded Brown for making use of her viral attention and turning lemons into lemonade.

Meanwhile, others have noted that they are not about to trust a hair product line from someone who put superglue in their own hair. Plus, there is a chuck of people pointing to a typo on her packaging.

See what others are saying: (TMZ) (Florida News Times) (Insider)

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