New California Law Adds to Complexity of Content Moderation

States and Congress have been enacting or debating different approaches to online “content moderation” by social media and other internet platforms. California’s “Content Moderation Requirements for Internet Terms of Service” bill (“AB 587”) goes into effect on Jan 1, 2024. In short, AB 587 requires social media companies to disclose their processes to take down or manage content and users on their platforms. AB 587 takes a somewhat different approach to social media content regulation than previously enacted laws in Texas and Florida.  The Texas and Florida laws also address the content management practices of social media companies, but go beyond requiring disclosures and also prohibit specific conduct in order to restrict putative viewpoint discrimination. The Eleventh Circuit partially repudiated the Florida law because the associated content moderation requirements violate social media companies’ First Amendment rights to exercise editorial judgment on their platforms. The Fifth Circuit, on the other hand, upheld a similar Texas law because the court believed that content moderation based on viewpoint would constitute censorship and that a platform’s content moderation activity is not speech protected by the First Amendment.

(more…)

, , , , ,

SEC Identifies Deficiencies From its Electronic Investment Advice Initiative

On November 9, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Examinations (EXAMS) released a risk alert (Risk Alert) concerning deficiencies it observed in its examinations of advisers providing electronic advisory services, including advisers known as “robo-advisers.”1 Those deficiencies were in the areas of the robo-advisers’ compliance programs, portfolio management practices (including advisers’ fiduciary obligations), and marketing/performance advertising. (more…)

, , ,

Why it’s Unconstitutional for Politicians – Including the President – to Block People on Social Media

*This article first appeared in the Washington Post on September 26, 2018.

In a recent piece for Washington Post Outlook, Chris Fonzone and Josh Geltzer (from the Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection) explained why a legal case that began with a dispute between a Loudoun County supervisor and a constituent may help set a new standard for online interaction nationally:

A legal case that began with a dispute between a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and a constituent may help to set the rules for how government officials — up to and including President Trump — interact with the public online. A federal appeals court in Richmond will hear the case this week, and, while the stakes of the conflict may seem small at first — one man was banned for a day from an official’s Facebook page — it has potentially enormous First Amendment implications. (more…)

, , ,