Freedom of expression: Elon Musk sues California

Posted Sep 10, 2023, 3:55 PM

Elon Musk against California. The multi-billionaire who presents himself as an “absolutist of freedom of speech” sued the State of California on Friday, accusing it of not respecting the Constitution of the United States with its new law on social networks.

The X platform, new twitter name which it acquired for $44 billion in 2022, targets a Californian text called “embly Bill 587” which requires large social networks to better monitor the content that is distributed on their platforms. The goal of this California law is to combat misinformation, hate speech, harment, extremism and foreign influences. It forces the major platforms to explain precisely, in biannual reports, how they moderate comments on their networks. It also exposes the latter to fines in the event of non-compliance with these rules.

Accusation of censorship

At the time he signed this text, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom ured that California would “not stand idly by when social media is used as a weapon to spread hatred and threaten our communities as well as the founding values ​​of our country.”

But for the management of It is therefore incompatible with the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

This new standoff comes as Elon Musk, since his takeover of Twitter, has licensed many employees responsible for content moderation while reopening controversial accounts, in particular that of former President Donald Trump . Since then, ociations fighting against defamation or online hatred have noted, on Twitter then increase in hate speech against Jews, African-Americans and gay and trans communities.

Leak of advertisers

Elon Musk, who says he is “against all forms of anti-Semitism”, also wants to cross swords against these ociations: he accuses them of smearing X and driving away advertisers from his platform. Last Monday, the entrepreneur claimed that the advertising revenue of X were down around 60% in the United States – without specifying over what period.

He sued the Center for Combating Online Hate (CCDH) and said he was about to do the same with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). According to the latter, the number of anti-Semitic acts increased by 36% in 2022 in the United States to reach a peak since this statistic was calculated in 1979.

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