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Rumblings in Big Techs as Elon Musk’s X Corporation sues California over moderation law

Mr. Elon Musk, CEO of X Corporation

*The global technology giant institutes a legal suit against the state of California, in the United States, for signing the service and content moderation law AB 587 considered as a violation of the company’s freedom of speech

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Elon Musk’s X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, September 8, 2023, filed a lawsuit against the state of California, in the United States (US) over content moderation law AB 587.

ConsumerConnect gathered the micro logging site and leading social media platform instituted the legal suit against the US state for signing into law the AB 587 regulation on service and content moderation policies for social media platforms.

Under AB 587, which California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law September 2022, social media sites are now required to “make transparent their terms of service and content moderation policies.”

With the activation of the AB 587 by the state, the Big Techs must also file a semiannual report to California’s Attorney General, detailing how their current terms of service define and moderate hate speech, extremism, misinformation, harassment, and foreign political interference.

X Corporation’s suit also alleges that AB 587’s content moderation policies violate free speech laws, agency report said.

The company stated in the complaint, that AB 587 “compels companies to engage in speech against their will, impermissibly interferes with the constitutionally-protected editorial judgments of companies such as X Corp.”

The X Corporation’s suit further claims that it is “difficult to reliably define” what counts as hate speech or misinformation, citing that these definitions are “often fraught with political bias.”

AB 587 is a ‘pure transparency measure’, says lawmaker

In reaction to the Big Tech’s lawsuit, Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, author of AB 587, said in a statement said that AB 587 is “a pure transparency measure that simply requires companies to be upfront about if and how they are moderating content.

Gabriel stated: “It in no way requires any specific content moderation policies – which is why it passed with strong, bipartisan support.”

The legislato also argued, “if Twitter has nothing to hide, then they should have no objection to this bill.”

It is noted that X Corporation’s lawsuit is the latest development in Musk and X’s complicated relationship with freedom of speech and hate speech.

After taking over Twitter in a $42billion deal last year, the Chief Executive of SpaceX had cut its global content moderation team and disbanded the Trust and Safety council, meant to address problems with the platform including, but not limited to, hate speech, child exploitation, and harassment.

What Elon Musk added to X’s new terms of service

  • Elon Musk’s X follower count bloated by millions of new, inactive accounts
  • Elon Musk’s army of inactive followers paints a bleak picture of X as a whole
  • Elon Musk wants to remove headlines from news articles on X
  • Musk reinstated accounts of controversial figures like Andrew Tate and supported right-wing outlet The Daily Wire.

He equally sued a nonprofit dedicated to tracking hate speech online and suspended journalists who covered Musk, including Mashable’s Matt Binder, according to report.

It was also learnt that in recent times, Musk has been highly critical of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights organisation combating extremism and anti-Semitism.

He liked anti-ADL posts supporting the #BanTheADL hashtag and even floated a lawsuit.

Notably, the ADL supports AB 587. In AP News’ 2022 reporting on the bill being signed into law, they said that the ADL and other groups sought out the bill in the first place, viewing it as a necessity for countering hate speech online, report noted.

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