Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit with the state of California over freedom of speech violations. The lawsuit alleges that California law AB587 violates X’s, formerly known as Twitter, freedom of speech rights.
In September 2022, the state of California passed law AB587. This law requires social media platforms to make their moderation policies public. The law means that social media sites like X would not only have to make their moderation policies public, but also would require changes to be made if those policies do not fit inline with the state viewpoint.
Musk says this is a direct violation of the companies freedom of speech and has the intent of forcing companies to follow certain moderation policies. This force would result in a company having to conform to the state rather than having their rights to their own moderation and policies kept in place.
Musk cited several issues with AB587 including that the “true intent is to pressure social media platforms to ‘eliminate’ certain constitutionally-protected content viewed by the state as problematic.” Musk also states that the “First Amendment unequivocally prohibits this kind of interference with a traditional publisher’s editorial judgment.”
Gov. Gavin Newsome has a different view of the law. His view is that the law is to help prevent social media from allowsing bigoted statements and giving false information.
“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,”
The issue many companies like Elon Musk’s X, is with the loss of freedom. By requiring the moderation policies to be public the state can say that a policy allows for bigotry or disinformation. The issue with that is by stopping someone from giving strong opinions on hate, race, or other issues they are actually stopping the freedom of speech.
Musk has shown that his outlook is that everyone should have the right to have and voice their opinion. However, everyone should also have the right to choose if they believe that viewpoint or not. This is how open discussions, change, and progression are made.
In essence, California is showing the desire for a moderated echo chamber and Musk wants no part of it.