Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, sues California over social media law

The company formerly known as Twitter, X, is suing the state of California over a law passed last year that aims to make social media platforms more transparent for lawmakers to say.

The General Attorney’s office would require companies to submit this information to the Attorney General of California by January 2024. The rules state that companies are required to disclose their policies, including how they handle content posted by users on their platforms, and what content is allowed to be posted when platforms violate these policies. This is mandated by Assembly Bill 587, which applies to social media companies.

“A lawsuit was filed on Friday in a federal court in Sacramento, alleging that the law violates the First Amendment’s free speech protections by subjecting companies to moderate social pressure from the media, which is considered undesirable or harmful.”

The main purpose of pressuring social media companies to minimize or eliminate objectionable government content is not the main purpose of the lawsuit, as stated in the clear legislative record of AB 587.

The company says that it restricts the reach of tweets that violate its rules, which prohibit harmful speech, potentially harmful reports, and hateful conduct. The company stopped the formal publishing of biannual reports on policies that enforce these rules. Elon Musk, who took over the social media platform last year, has implemented these changes to restrict the reach of tweets that violate the platform’s rules on harmful speech and harassment.

Content moderation, the act of examining users’ posts and removing those that breach guidelines, has been a contentious political matter. Republicans have accused these companies of suppressing speech, while Democrats argue that social media platforms have not adequately regulated content, thereby enabling the dissemination of harmful messages. They claim that this could result in the elimination of lawful speech. Additionally, NetChoice, an organization comprising X among its members, filed a lawsuit against the state in the previous year in an attempt to prevent the implementation of a children’s online safety law.

In an interview, Assemblymember Gabriel Jesse (D-Encino) said that the bill he wrote is challenging. He also mentioned that they were mindful of constitutional concerns when drafting the legislation, as he strongly believes in free speech.

According to him, the legislation does not mandate that companies implement content moderation guidelines and solely focuses on promoting transparency.

He said, “Let’s put a lot of thought into that.” “The courts are ultimately going to find this law constitutional, and I am very optimistic and hopeful that this lawsuit will not succeed.”

The office of the attorney general did not promptly reply to a request for comment.

X says that there is a lawsuit in which the attorney general’s office is providing more detailed information about how it moderates politically-charged and controversial content on social media platforms such as those that do not allow users to post and publicize already.

According to the lawsuit, social media companies would be responsible for a penalty of up to $15,000 per violation per day if they violate the new law. The lawsuit also claims that social media companies would have the additional burden of monitoring their daily content moderation decisions.

Following Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the company has witnessed a substantial decrease in its staff, roughly 80%, and has encountered difficulties in attracting extra revenue from advertising.