Widespread alarm over NY law forcing social media companies to track ‘hateful conduct’
October 6, 2023
A New York law that compels social media companies to track and report “hateful conduct” on their platforms – defined broadly enough to cover a legal blog that allows reader comments – is raising alarms among a cross-ideological coalition of satirists, journalists and activists on both sides of the abortion debate.
They swamped the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week with friend-of-the-court briefs supporting the plaintiffs challenging the law: UCLA law professor and Volokh Conspiracy founder Eugene Volokh, video-sharing platform Rumble and subscription-based community platform Locals, all of which practice minimal content moderation.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) illustrated the left-leaning groups’ problem with the law championed by leading New York Democrats: It’s the mirror image of red states banning political censorship by social media, a subject the Supreme Court will take up this term.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James have explicitly affirmed that the law, passed in the wake of last year’s livestreamed Buffalo mass shooting to target speech perceived to “vilify” or “humiliate” people based on race, religion and other protected categories, is intended to induce companies to censor constitutionally protected speech.