The CEO of Babylon Bee and podcaster Tim Pool have filed suit against California’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, over an allegedly unconstitutional new law.
As part of the new law, social media companies must define offensive speech and submit quarterly reports detailing how they have censored it. There are multiple speech categories that the state can define as misinformation, extremism, hate speech, foreign political interference, and bigotry in its content moderation policies.
If a social media company fails to submit the required reports could be fined $15,000 per violation, per day, for non-compliance. The lawsuit claims AB 587 “is a censorship bill, not a transparency bill.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-California) defended the law by stating that he will not permit social media to disseminate disinformation and hate speech that threatens the United States. Californians have the right to know how these platforms influence public discourse. This action brings much-needed accountability and transparency to the policies influencing daily social media content. Newsom thanked Assembly Member Gabriel for championing this important bill to protect Californians from online hatred, harassment, and falsehoods.
The radical left-wing members of the Democratic Party will use “unconstitutional” law to censor speech that contradicts their radical agenda. The lawsuit states Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Bonta have expressed a desire to use state power to stifle speech they disapprove of, constitutionally protected expression to which they refer with derogatory terms such as ‘disinformation,’ ‘hate speech,’ and ‘extremism.'”
In 2022, Bona requested that YouTube, Meta, Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit censor disinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and threats that spread fear and political violence.
In a Substack post about the lawsuit, Seth Dillon, the CEO of Babylon Bee, wrote that it’s a positive thing when individuals are allowed to speak freely. It is undesirable when Big Tech and the government determine what people are permitted to say. Why? Because they frequently make errors. Even worse, they deliberately make errors. He also noted that referring to a male individual as a “man” could be regarded as “hateful conduct.”
The part that the lawsuit seems to find concerning seems to stem from 22677. (a). This section discusses the part where social media companies must, on a semiannual basis, submit terms of service reports to the Attorney General. There should be a complete list of the following to be included in terms of service report for each social media platform owned or operated by the company. Subcategories in section three are listed as follows:
- Hate speech or racism.
- Extremism or radicalization.
- Disinformation or misinformation
- Foreign political interference.
To see California Assembly Bill No. 587, click here.