Elon Musk’s X Loses Bid to Undo California Content Moderation Law

Elon Musk‘s X failed to block a California law that requires social media companies to disclose their content-moderation policies.

U.S. District Judge William Shubb rejected the company’s request in an eight-age ruling on Thursday.

“While the reporting requirement does appear to place a substantial compliance burden on social medial companies, it does not appear that the requirement is unjustified or unduly burdensome within the context of First Amendment law,” Shubb wrote, per Reuters.

The legislation, signed into law in 2022 by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, requires social media companies to publicly issue their policies regarding hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism on their platforms. They must also report data on their enforcement of these practices.

“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,” Newsom said in a statement at the time. “Californians deserve to know how these platforms are impacting our public discourse, and this action brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the policies that shape the social media content we consume every day.”

X, formerly Twitter, sued the state in September and argued that the law violated free speech rights protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and California’s state constitution.

After Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, he promised advertisers that the company would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” once he was in charge. A few months after the billionaire took ownership of the social media platform, The New York Times released a report showing that hate speech on the platform had risen dramatically his takeover.


In November, a report by the watchdog group Media Matters found that ads for brands like Apple, Bravo, and Amazon had appeared on X next to white nationalist hashtags such as #WLM (White Lives Matter) or #KeepEuropeWhite. Following the report, X advertisers Disney, Apple, Lionsgate, Comcast/NBCUniversal, and IBM severed ties with the platform.