The state of California is being sued by Elon Musk’s X over its online moderation reporting bill. The lawsuit of the X Corp. as you should know alleges that the bill of the state of California infringes on the free speech rights of X simply because it forces companies to directly take up definitions for not-so-good terms.
The State Of California Sued By X
Elon Musk’s X Corp. is reportedly suing the state of California over AB 587, which in case you don’t know is a state bill that requires social media platforms to report to the state attorney general, semiannually, on how they are tackling moderation of certain categories of speech. The complaint in question alleges that the bill violates both federal and state free speech laws just because it “compels companies like X Corp. to engage in speech against their will,” as they are reportedly forced to settle on definitions for “politically-charged” issues such as hate speech or racism.
The Complaint of X Corp.
The complaint of X Corp. explains that it is “difficult to reliably define” hate speech, misinformation, political interference, as well as other content categories. It also adds that defining them is “often fraught with political bias” simply because there is no accepted consensus within the public sphere in regard to what the terms mean. X Corp. has stated that in defining those very things, it is being compelled to take a position on them.
Content of the Suit
The suit in question alleges that AB 587 is crafted and aimed to make social media firms “‘eliminate’ certain constitutionally-protected content” that the state on its own thinks is “problematic.” The office of Governor Gavin Newsom promoted it as a “nation-leading social media transparency” measure and medium when he signed it into law in September of the previous year. Laws that specify how social media firms handle moderation have been created in both states of Texas and Florida, and those laws in case you don’t know are waiting for the Supreme Court to hear challenges to them.
The Impact of Social Media Moderation on the Industry
Social media moderation for many in the industry and experts in the field isn’t a solved problem. X makes use of tools such as automated systems and community flagging for moderation and fact-checking. This very week alone the firm rolled out its Community Notes for videos, which enables “Top Writers” to submit context to potentially misleading videos, but could however itself lead to misinformation.
Reddit also has just recently drawn criticism after it began booting longtime moderators and then replacing them with potentially less critical, inexperienced ones, while the very own moderation of Bluesky manifesto acknowledged that its moderation approach could lead to suppressing fact-checking on the site.
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