24 September, 2023

Musk’s X challenges new US transparency law, terms it ‘unconstitutional’

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Elon Musk-run X (formerly Twitter) has filed a lawsuit, alleging that a new California law requiring social media platforms to declare certain moderation practices, alleging it is “unconstitutional” and a clear violation of the company’s right to free speech.

The law, called AB 587, requires social media companies to publicly detail moderation practices around hate speech, racism, extremism, disinformation, harassment and foreign political interference, reports TechCrunch.

In the lawsuit, X said through AB 587, “the State is compelling social media companies to take public positions on controversial and politically-charged issues”.

“Because X Corp. must take such positions on these topics as they are formulated by the State, X Corp. is being forced to adopt the State’s politically-charged terms, which is a form of compelled speech in and of itself,” the lawsuit alleged.

“AB 587 thus mandates X Corp. to speak about sensitive, controversial topics about which it does not wish to speak in the hopes of pressuring X Corp. to limit constitutionally-protected content on its platform that the State apparently finds objectionable or undesirable,” it added.

Responding to the lawsuit, California Assembly member Jesse Gabriel, and author of the AB 587 bill, said that it 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.”

The AB 587 bill was signed into law a year ago.


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