Elon Musk’s X Corp sues California over content moderation law

WEB DESK: Elon Musk’s X Corp has initiated legal proceedings against the state of California, challenging a content moderation law that introduces new transparency regulations for social media companies.

As per media reports, the state law in question mandates that companies like X disclose their strategies for combating disinformation and outline their approaches to moderating harassment, hate speech, and extremism on their platforms.

In a lawsuit filed on Friday, X Corp argued that the law violates its freedom of speech, protected by both the First Amendment of the US Constitution and California’s state constitution, as it essentially “compels companies like X Corp to engage in speech against their will.”

X’s global government affairs team, formerly known as Twitter, posted a statement on Friday, stating, “The true intent of AB 587 is to exert pressure on social media platforms to ‘eliminate’ certain constitutionally-protected content that the State deems problematic.”

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Meanwhile, the complaint filed by X warns that the law is likely to compel the company into “removing, demonetising, or deprioritising” content that the state deems “undesirable or harmful.” It is customary for social media companies to remove accounts and content that violate local laws and their own policies.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 587 into law in November. The legislation mandates that social media firms publicly disclose their content moderation policies and report their enforcement data to the state attorney-general biannually.

Elon Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” purchased X Corp because of his concerns about free speech. In December, he shared the “Twitter Files” on the platform, which included internal company emails suggesting a tendency to comply with government takedown requests. The publication also accused Twitter of maintaining an excessively close relationship with the FBI before Musk’s acquisition.

Following Musk’s takeover, X’s compliance with government requests for censorship or surveillance reportedly surged to more than 80 per cent in the six months, up from approximately 50 per cent, as reported by Rest of World in April.

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