X Corp. Seeks Injunction Against California Content Moderation Law

X Corp. (formerly Twitter) on Friday urged a federal judge to block enforcement of a new California law that requires companies to post content-moderation policies and provide reports to the state attorney general about enforcement.

The platform -- which experienced a well-publicized drop in ad revenue after loosening its content-moderation policies last year -- argues that the new law (AB 587) violates the First Amendment.

The statute “compels social media companies to engage in speech against their will about one of the most controversial political topics: how to define speech that should be restricted or disfavored on social media platforms and how to apply those definitions and decide what speech to permit or limit on such platforms,” X Corp. writes in its request for an injunction, filed with U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb in Sacramento.



The statute specifically requires companies to report on whether and how they define and handle “hate speech” and “disinformation.”

Among other arguments, X Corp. says the law represents an attempt “to pressure social media companies into regulating and censoring constitutionally-protected content that the government believes is undesirable.”

X Corp. notes in its new papers that the lead bill author said he hoped the bill would pressure platforms to “eliminate hate speech and disinformation.”

In general, the First Amendment prohibits the government from attempting to suppress lawful speech -- including speech that's racist, sexist, or otherwise objectionable.

X Corp. says that even defining hate speech -- as the bill requires -- is fraught with controversy.

“Some people view speech intentionally misgendering a transgender individual as 'hate speech' and harassment,” the company writes. “Others insist that forcing someone to call a transgender individual by their preferred pronouns violates their deeply-held beliefs about what is true.”

“AB 587 focuses on the most controversial and politically-charged categories of content moderation,” X Corp writes. “It forces social media companies to speak publicly and take a position on these controversial topics, notwithstanding that doing so will usually result in public criticism from one group or another.”

Shubb is expected to hold a hearing in the matter next month.

1 comment about "X Corp. Seeks Injunction Against California Content Moderation Law".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Michael Giuseffi from American Media Inc, October 10, 2023 at 1:12 p.m.

    If this democracy is to survive social media companies must be held accountable for the disinformation promugated on their sites however that is achieved.

Next story loading loading..