California social media rules would violate First Amendment | #socialmedia

If California passed a law exposing newspaper publishers to liability for the selection, arrangement and promotion of articles, it would obviously violate the First Amendment. So why are some state lawmakers advancing Assembly Bill 2408, which proposes precisely the same type of unconstitutional penalties for internet publishers?

The bill is well-intended, and aims to promote the mental and emotional well-being of young people on the internet. But to do that, AB 2408 proposes to punish social media platforms when their decisions about what to show are proven to “cause” young audiences to suffer injuries.

That proposal violates core speech rights, and legislators must not allow it to become law.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the First Amendment protects publishers’ decisions to select, arrange and promote content to audiences as a basic exercise of their editorial control and judgment. The protection applies regardless of the medium of communication publishers use to convey information, whether they run a newspaper, cable network, website or social network. And the court has expressly held that the amendment applies to online speech and content moderation practices.

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