Judge Rejects Challenge to California Censorship Law

A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging California’s censorship law over alleged violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

US District Judge Hernan D. Vera wrote in the decision that plaintiffs did not successfully argue “an actual injury or a realistic danger of a future injury” as a result of the law.

The plaintiffs included the groups Minds, the Babylon Bee, the National Religious Broadcasters, and Tim Pool.

The censorship law mandated that social media sites report to the state and describe terms of service, content, and guidelines for handling violations.

Plaintiffs expressed concerns that they may be censored or will have to self-censor in order to remain online.

The court said that because the plaintiffs are not platforms, they are not subject to the contents of the bill and “cannot allege any fear of prosecution under AB 587 and cases considering such allegations do not apply.”

Reporting from Reclaim the Net:

This ruling actually contradicts a similar ruling out of New York earlier this year.

There, the bill, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul, required, “social media networks to provide and maintain mechanisms for reporting hateful conduct on their platform.”

The New York court highlighted the ways in which the law violated the First Amendment, saying, “the law also requires that a social media network must make a ‘policy’ available on its website which details how the network will respond to a complaint of hateful content. In other words, the law requires that social media networks devise and implement a written policy—i.e., speech.”

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