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X Corp Takes California to Court Over Content Moderation Law
X Corp, the parent company of the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has recently filed a lawsuit against California’s Attorney General Robert Bonta over the state’s new content moderation law. Elon Musk-led X claims that the law infringes on free speech, and labelled it as “unconstitutional”.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB 587 into law a year ago, which put the regulation of content moderation onto the shoulder of social media companies. The law requires social media companies to make their terms of service publicly available online, and submit reports semi-annually to the Attorney General that detail their content moderation practices.
X Corp was unwilling to disclose its content moderation practices to the Attorney General, which led them to file the lawsuit. They claim that the law has both the purpose and effect of pressuring companies to remove or deprioritize constitutionally-protected speech.
Governor Newsom’s office responded to the lawsuit by emphasizing the importance of transparency from social media platforms. They argue that Californians have a right to know how the content we consume is regulated by social media companies.
However, sources close to X Corp suggest that the lawsuit is also due to the company’s decreasing ad revenues since the takeover led by Elon Musk. The company’s decisions on content moderation has been controversial in the past, and publicly disclosing them could potentially hurt their advertising revenues.
It remains to be seen which side will prevail, but one thing is clear – content moderation policies are becoming increasingly important and their regulation has become a hot-button issue, especially in the US. Robert Bonta’s press office said that they have not yet been served with the complaint, but will review it and respond in court