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The Babylon Bee is suing California's attorney general
California passed an unconstitutional censorship law. We're suing to stop its enforcement.
In 2022, California passed an unconstitutional censorship law called AB 587. We're suing to stop its enforcement. I’ve tried to anticipate your questions below. If you have more, just drop them in the comments where they’ll be easily ignored.
What’s AB 587?
AB 587 is a new law in California that regulates social media companies. It requires Big Tech platforms to provide periodic reporting to the California Attorney General on several categories of speech, including misinformation, disinformation, extremism, radicalization, and hate speech. If the platforms don’t provide adequate reporting, the state will impose fines to compel compliance.
How are they lying about the law to make it seem like a good thing?
They’re claiming it’s just about “transparency.” That’s not true. This is a censorship bill, not a transparency bill. Here’s Gavin Newsom himself explaining why he signed the bill into law: “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.”
But isn’t it a good thing if we have less hate speech and misinformation on the internet?
It’s a good thing when people are allowed to speak freely. It’s a bad thing when Big Tech and the government work together to decide what we’re allowed to say. Why? Because they often get it wrong. Even worse, they get it wrong on purpose. As I said in my testimony before Congress, censorship guards the narrative, not the truth. In fact, it guards the narrative at the expense of the truth. In today’s post-truth, anti-reality world, describing a male person as a man is considered “hateful conduct.” If Big Tech is tasked by the state with eliminating hateful or misinformative content, they’ll stuff everything they don’t like into those categories, including opinions, jokes, and even factual statements. We’ve already experienced it first hand. We need laws that prohibit viewpoint discrimination, not laws that compel it under threat of penalties (and under the guise of good-faith content moderation).
What are your legal arguments?
In short, we argue that the law violates the First Amendment, is too vague to be constitutionally enforced, and violates the free speech guarantees in the California Constitution. You can read the full complaint here.
Is anyone else joining you in the lawsuit?
Yes, we’re joined by two other plaintiffs: Minds and Tim Pool.
What outcome are you hoping for?
We’re asking a federal district court to block enforcement of the law.
So what happens next?
I have no idea. I’m not a lawyer. And if I ask my lawyer he’ll bill me $800 for his answer.
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