Saturday 9 September 2023

Elon Musk files lawsuit accusing the state of California of violating free speech rights of X Corp

 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk filed a lawsuit against California alleging that the state had violated his company's free speech rights by demanding open moderation policies.

Musk, who purchased the social media platform Twitter and rebranded it as X, has called himself a free speech absolutist and said previously that he purchased Twitter in order to maintain it as a global town square. 

California passed AB 587 in Sept. 2022 requiring for social media companies to publish their polices about moderating content that may content disinformation, harassment, hate speech and extremism. The law only applies to companies with more than $100 million of gross annual revenue and allows the government to fine companies up to $15,000 per day, per violation.

X Corp argued in its lawsuit that the law violates its First Amendment free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution and the California state constitution.

The lawsuit filed in federal court claims that the "true intent" of the law is to compel social media companies to eliminate speech that the state finds objectionable. 

X Corp says the law constitutes "a form of compelled speech in and of itself."

AB 587 also requires social media companies to submit a biannual report detailing how the terms of service defines extremism, disinformation and harassment. The law goes into effect in January and requires reports to be submitted to the attorney general's office no later than Jan. 1, 2024. 

"California will not stand by as social media is weaponized to spread hate and disinformation that threaten our communities and foundational values as a country," said Newsom after signing the bill.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that he would respond to the lawsuit in federal court.

In April a lawsuit from the satire site The Babylon Bee and podcaster Tim Pool also challenged the law in court.

Here's more about Elon Musk and free speech:

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