Miami State Sen. Frank Artiles Has Blocked More Than 400 People on Facebook
Miami State Sen. Frank Artiles (R) is swimming in some boiling-hot water after accepting nearly $2,000 in gifts from Florida Power & Light before rapidly advancing pro-FPL bills in his committee.
But don't criticize Artiles online — he'll probably just block you.
According to a public-records request filed by an amateur First Amendment advocate, Artiles has blocked roughly 400 people on Facebook — a massive number in an age when access to social media is increasingly viewed as a right afforded to all Americans. Politicians' social media block lists have sparked multiple lawsuits and public-records battles in recent years, from suits against police departments in California and Hawaii to legal battles over Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's own, seemingly extensive (and still secret) Twitter block list.
Artiles did not respond to New Times' phone call to his office yesterday afternoon, so it's unknown who's running his account or what motivated the Facebook shutdowns. But many of the people blocked appear to be liberal or left-wing users. Many of those he has blocked have profile pictures of LGBT flags, communist symbols, or Democratic insignias. Artiles even blocked the page Being Liberal, which simply posts left-wing memes and articles.