Musk's X sues California over content moderation law, claiming it violates free speech

Elon Musk’s X Corp. on Friday sued the state of California over a content moderation law.

The suit challenges the “constitutionality and legal validity” of the law, signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last year, which requires social media companies to publicly post their policies on hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism on their platforms.

The law, Assembly Bill No. 587 (A.B. 587), also requires social media companies to report data on their enforcement of those policies.

“AB 587 violates X Corp.’s First Amendment right to not speak about controversial topics and to decide for itself what it will say or not say about these topics,” the suit reads.

A.B. 587 has also faced opposition from tech industry groups, which spoke out against it in the wake of its passage. Some legal experts have raised First Amendment concerns over the law.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement when he signed the measure into law. “Californians deserve to know how these platforms are impacting our public discourse, and this action brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the policies that shape the social media content we consume every day.”

Musk, who has described himself as a “free-speech absolutist,” has rolled back content moderation measures on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, since taking over the company last year.

“Assembly Bill 587 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 – which is why it passed with strong, bipartisan support,” California State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, the author of the bill, said in a statement. “If Twitter has nothing to hide, then they should have no objection to this bill.”

Updated at 8:54 p.m.

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