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X Fails to Block California’s Content Moderation Law

California Law on Content Moderation Transparency

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Elon Musk’s social media platform X faced a setback in blocking a California state law requiring transparency in content moderation. The law mandates social media companies, including X, to issue semiannual reports detailing content moderation practices.

X’s Legal Battle

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In September, X filed a lawsuit against California, alleging that the content moderation law infringed upon its free speech rights. The legal action aimed to challenge the perceived violation of X’s constitutional rights.

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Content Moderation Reporting

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The law necessitates social media companies with substantial revenue, like X, to provide semiannual reports describing content moderation practices. X, formerly Twitter, sought to undo the law, arguing a violation of its free speech rights.

X’s Request and Reporting Requirement

Chiang mai, Thailand – Oct 05 2023: A woman sitting indoors and using a X Twitter application through her Iphone14. A X Twitter logo on an Iphone14 screen. Social media platform concept — Photo by BongkarnGraphic

U.S. District Judge William Shubb dismissed X’s request. He stated that the reporting requirement is not unduly burdensome within First Amendment law.

Compliance Burden

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While recognizing a substantial compliance burden, Judge Shubb deems it justified within the context of the First Amendment. X faces the challenge of balancing its content moderation practices with the legal obligations imposed by state law.

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First Amendment Context

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The reporting requirement is substantial. However, within the context of First Amendment law, it does not appear unjustified.

X’s Response

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X, the social media giant, has not immediately responded to the court’s decision and the reporting requirements imposed by the law. The company’s stance and actions following this ruling remain uncertain.

Shubb’s Meeting on Case Scheduling

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Judge Shubb has scheduled a meeting with lawyers on Feb. 26. The purpose is to conduct a scheduling conference concerning the ongoing case.

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Impact on Users

Credit: West Bangal, India – july 24, 2023 : X logo on phone screen stock image. — Photo by seemantaduttaskv@gmail.com

Judge Shubb emphasizes the importance of “terms of service” requirements, considering them crucial for users. This aspect becomes a major deciding factor for users navigating the platform amid evolving content moderation regulations.

Ad Revenue Plunge

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X faces challenges with declining monthly U.S. ad revenue. It has dropped by at least 55% yearly since Elon Musk took over in October 2022.

European Union Scrutiny

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Furthermore, X finds itself under investigation by the European Union over suspected breaches, mainly related to posts following Hamas’ attacks on Israel. The scrutiny extends beyond the U.S., placing X under international legal and regulatory scrutiny.

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X’s DSA Commitment & Legal Landscape Navigation

July 24, 2023, Brazil. In this photo illustration, a woman’s silhouette holds a smartphone with the Twitter (X) new logo in the background — Photo by rafapress

“X remains committed to complying with the Digital Services Act (DSA) and is cooperating with the regulatory process.” The case, X Corp v Bonta, unfolds in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, No. 2:23-cv–01939. X’s commitment to complying with the Digital Services Act reflects its approach to navigating domestic and international regulatory landscapes.

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