Former President Donald Trump sued Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and its CEO, increasing his risk of fighting against the social media giants that blocked him.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump called this effort an effort to defend the rights of the First Amendment. He challenged tech giants and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack in Florida’s federal court. · Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai filed three separate class actions.
These lawsuits seek a court order to restore his social media accounts and punitive damages to ensure that other users are not banned or flagged by the tech giant. The legal team is led by John P. Coale, a trial lawyer involved in litigation against major tobacco companies.
“We will hold large technology companies very responsible,” Trump said at a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone.”
Twitter permanently banned Trump in January because he incited thugs who attacked the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot on January 6 to prevent the counting of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes. Facebook said last month that Trump will be suspended on its network for at least two years, and if the public safety risk subsides, it may be restored in 2023.
After the riots on January 6, Google’s giant video service YouTube also froze Trump’s account. The video of the former president is still accessible, but he is not allowed to post new videos. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has stated that the company will change its policy after deciding to “reducing the risk of violence,” but did not provide details.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter declined to comment on the lawsuits, which have been criticized by advocacy groups funded by technology. NetChoice, whose members include Amazon and other technology companies, said that this action showed “a deliberate misunderstanding of the First Amendment” and was groundless.
“President Trump has no reason,” NetChoice CEO Steve DelBianco said in a press release. “The First Amendment aims to protect the media from the President, not the other way around.”
Trump is seeking to overturn a federal law that protects Internet companies from liability for content posted by users. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Regulation Act protects social media platforms from lawsuits, accusing them of unfairly deleting posts or accounts, and other legal challenges. The First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing technology companies to leave or delete certain categories of positions.
In the lawsuit, Trump argued that the liability protection provided for in Article 230 means that social media companies should be regarded as government actors that can be sued.
The deportation of Trump by major technology platforms has once again triggered the Republican Party’s call for the removal of legal protection, believing that this allows social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to censor conservative views.
These lawsuits are not the first time Trump has targeted Article 230. During his tenure, he tried to get Congress to repeal Section 230 by threatening to veto the Department of Defense spending bill. The Democrats also proposed a bill to reduce legal protections to encourage technology companies to more actively eliminate prejudice, abuse and harassment on their platforms.
Technology companies have largely resisted changes to the law, worrying that the proliferation of lawsuits will force them to ban free-flowing user-generated content. However, both Zuckerberg and Dorsey have expressed their openness to Article 230 reforms in recent months.
Unable to obtain the widespread influence provided by the social media giants, Trump has been struggling to maintain his online influence. He shut down blogs like “From Donald J. Trump’s Desk”, even though he often publishes several press statements every day—often aimed at Republicans who he considers not loyal enough.
Trump recently strengthened his public activities by restarting rallies and traveling to the southern border of the United States last week to criticize Biden’s immigration policies. He supports the candidates for the 2022 midterm elections and actively opposes other candidates. He also raised the prospect of running for president again in 2024.
The former president has been teasing that he will launch a new platform that cannot be deleted. He said in Dave Rubin’s “Rubin Report” podcast on June 25, “There are many platforms out there. This is what we are looking for. Get the right platform, a perfect platform. I think you will see some thing.”
During his presidency, Trump used Twitter from insulting competitors to major policy announcements, and he particularly relied on Facebook to raise funds from small donors.
Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked a Florida law that prohibits social media platforms from suspending the accounts of political candidates. The U.S. Magistrate of Tallahassee, Robert Hinkell, likened the state’s law to “burning a house and roasting pigs.” He said that the legislation passed by the Republican legislature and the priorities of Governor Ron De Santis violated the company’s freedom of speech. right.
The case is Trump et al v Twitter Inc et al, 21-cv-22441, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami).