Elon Musk Sues California Over Content Moderation Law – Elon Musk is taking legal action against the state of California because he is reluctant to discuss Twitter’s content moderation practices. This legal action comes in response to the signing of AB587 by California Governor Gavin Newsom last year. This legislation mandates that social media companies must disclose their policies regarding issues such as hate speech and disinformation, in addition to providing data about how they enforce these policies.
Although the bill was initially proposed in 2021, it faced significant resistance from social media companies, which led to a nearly two-year delay in its passage. Musk’s lawsuit argues that this law violates both the First Amendment and the California Constitution because it effectively pressures the company to remove posts from users who express politically charged viewpoints.
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The law compels companies like Twitter, recently rebranded as X, “to engage in speech against their will, impermissibly interferes with the constitutionally protected editorial judgments of companies such as X Corp., has both the purpose and likely effect of pressuring companies such as X Corp. to remove, demonetize, or deprioritize constitutionally protected speech,” the company said in the complaint.
California State Representative Jesse Gabriel, a Democrat and the bill’s author, says that if Twitter has nothing to hide, they shouldn’t have any objections to the bill. “Assembly Bill 587 is a pure transparency measure that simply requires companies to be upfront about if and how they are moderating content. It in no way requires any specific content moderation policies – which is why it passed with strong, bipartisan support,” Gabriel said in an emailed statement.
Criticism has been directed at Musk due to a surge in hate speech on the platform following his acquisition of the company. These concerns have prompted multiple advertisers to withdraw from the platform. In the recent week, Musk issued a legal threat against the Anti-Defamation League, asserting that the nonprofit’s remarks about the growing hate speech on the platform constituted defamation against the company.