Elon Musk’s X challenges California’s social media transparency law
Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, has sued California over a state law that requires transparency for social media companies.
It includes these companies’ handling of disinformation, hate speech, and extremism.
X challenged Assembly Bill 587, calling it a violation of free speech rights under the US Constitution’s first amendment and California’s state constitution.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Sacramento, California.
X alleges the law’s “true intent” is to pressure social media firms into removing content that the state deems objectionable.
X said the law forces companies to adopt the state’s views on politically charged issues, “a form of compelled speech in and of itself.”
Musk, the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” and the world’s wealthiest person, acquired Twitter for $44 billion in October of the previous year.
In addition to Twitter, Musk oversees electric car company Tesla and space exploration firm SpaceX.
Civil rights organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for Countering Digital Hate have reported increased hate speech on X.
Increased hate speech since Musk’s Twitter takeover
These groups said it targeted Jews, Black individuals, LGBTQ+ communities, and trans persons on X since Musk took the helm.
The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta, responsible for enforcing state laws, hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment regarding the lawsuit.
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Assembly Bill 587 mandates that Big social media firms produce semiannual reports outlining their content moderation practices and providing data on objectionable posts and their resolutions.
The law also requires companies to furnish copies of their terms of service, with potential civil fines of up to $15,000 per violation per day for non-compliance.
The bill received strong bipartisan support.
Since Musk acquired Twitter, the platform has seen significant layoffs.
Musk has attributed a 60 percent decline in US advertising revenue to critics, including the ADL.