AB 587 is yet another, aggressive California law censoring social media (anti-”hate speech” and “disinformation,” among other terms), disguised as a transparency law.
When enforced, AB 587 will require large online companies, like X Corp., to tailor their terms of service to the California government’s preference and include details about how certain legal content is moderated on their platforms. Companies will also be forced to submit to the California Attorney General intrusive – and often impossible to comply with – disclosures about constitutionally protected editorial decisions.
In practice, AB 587 will allow California’s politicians to regulate speech on the most popular online services based on the topic discussed or the idea or message expressed – something the First Amendment expressly prohibits. For this reason, NetChoice has strongly opposed AB 587 since it was introduced last year.
“The First Amendment prohibits the government from regulating lawful speech—directly or indirectly. States cannot avoid this prohibition by rebranding censorship as ‘transparency’ requirements,” said Chris Marchese, NetChoice Director of Litigation. “The court should enjoin AB 587 to ensure the First Amendment’s protections are applied online.”
In X Corp.’s complaint, the company argues that California AB 587 violates the Constitution in two ways:
- The First Amendment, by:
- Compelling online services to speak the state’s message about controversial topics;
- Infringing constitutionally protected editorial discretion; and
- Requiring or pressuring services to censor or remove lawful content that California politicians find offensive.
- The Commerce Clause, by imposing severe burdens on social media businesses’ interstate operations.
X Corp. also contends that AB 587 is preempted by Section 230(c)(2) of the Communications Decency Act, which prevents liability for good-faith content moderation decisions of lawful content.
NetChoice supports X Corp.’s challenge against this unconstitutional law, and we hope the court will halt yet another attempt from California politicians to censor lawful speech on social media.
You can read X Corp.’s complaint in this case, X Corp. v. Bonta, here.
Please contact Krista Chavez at email@example.com with inquiries.