Twitter/X boss Elon Musk has filed a lawsuit against the State of California for violating the free speech rights of his company.
Musk’s lawsuit alleges that California officials violated the First Amendment rights of X Corp by demanding open censorship policies.
Since he first purchased Twitter, which he rebranded as X, Musk has vowed to make free speech a priority on the social media platform.
Musk describes himself as a free speech absolutist and said he purchased Twitter in order to maintain it as a global town square.
However, in September 2022, California passed AB 587 requiring all social media companies to publish their policies about “moderating content,” i.e. censorship.
The state demands to know how Big Tech firms will censor anything that may contain, what the Democrats define as, “disinformation,” harassment, “hate speech,” and extremism.
The law only applies to companies with more than $100 million of gross annual revenue.
Under AB 587, the government is allowed to fine companies up to $15,000 per day, per violation.
X Corp argues in its lawsuit that the law violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The law also violates the free speech rights under the California state constitution, the lawsuit argues.
The lawsuit filed in federal court claims that the “true intent” of the law is to compel social media companies to eliminate speech that the Democrat-led state objects to.
X Corp says the law constitutes “a form of compelled speech in and of itself.”
AB 587 also requires social media companies to submit a biannual report detailing how the terms of service define extremism, “disinformation,” and harassment.
The law goes into effect in January and requires reports to be submitted to the attorney general’s office no later than January 1, 2024.
“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,” said Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom after signing the bill.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said that he would respond to the lawsuit in federal court.
In April, the law was also challenged in court by a lawsuit from the satire site The Babylon Bee and podcaster Tim Pool.