Elon Musk's social media platform, X, is taking legal action against California, questioning the constitutionality of Assembly Bill 587. The law imposes transparency rules on social media companies, aiming to regulate content related to disinformation, hate speech, and extremism. X argues that this legislation violates its free speech rights under both the US and California constitutions.
In a federal court complaint, X claims that California's motive behind this law is to pressure social media platforms into censoring objectionable content according to the state's preferences. According to X, this amounts to compelled speech, undermining the principle of free expression.
Elon Musk, known as a "free speech absolutist" and one of the world's wealthiest individuals, acquired Twitter in October last year. Alongside his social media ventures, Musk leads Tesla and SpaceX.
Civil rights organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Center for Countering Digital Hate, have reported an uptick in hate speech on X targeting various groups since Musk assumed ownership.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta's office has not responded to the lawsuit. Assembly Bill 587 mandates that prominent social media platforms submit semiannual reports detailing their content moderation methods and addressing objectionable posts. Non-compliance risks civil fines of up to $15,000 per violation per day.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed this legislation in September, emphasizing the state's commitment to preventing social media from being a platform for hate and disinformation.