The former U.S President Donald J. Trump filed suit against three leading tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, on Wednesday, claiming they’ve wrongfully censored him and other conservatives.
Trump criticized Facebook, Twitter, and Google over the censorship charges. These social media companies have banned the former President since the results of the last U.S Presidential election were announced.
The president announced from his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., that he will serve as the lead plaintiff in the class-action suit, arguing that the tech companies have wrongfully censored him and assaulted his fundamental right to speech freedom. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Trump called this lawsuit a “very beautiful development” in terms of freedom of speech and protection of the First Amendment.
“We are demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and cancelling that you know so well,..The suit requests a court order to end alleged censorship.”
While commenting on the scope and legal jurisdiction of the First Amendment, the former U.S President’s legal team argued that the private tech firms also amounted to state actors, and thus they were entitled to the protection of the First Amendment.
In the class-action lawsuit filed by Trump, the CEOs of these three companies have also been targeted. During a press conference, Mr. Trump also demanded the reinstatement of his banned social media accounts.
In the lawsuit, Section 230 has been denounced at length, and the lawsuit asks the court to declare Section 230 “unconstitutional.” In addition, the court should direct social media companies to give full access to the former president as well as those other members of the lawsuit who have been denied access to the sites. In the suit, the tech firms are also asked not to “censor” the social media accounts of Mr. Trump in the future.
Several minutes before Trump finished speaking, both his own Congressional Committee and his own Senate Committee sent text messages asking for the contributions for the lawsuit. The message encouraged donors to “Donate NOW.”
- Credit: The New York Times
As the former President had also tried to repeal Section 230, which prevents companies like Facebook and Twitter from being held responsible for user content. The provision of Section 230 describes these companies as a “platform” rather than the “publisher.” Thus, it provides legal impunity to social media companies regarding the content generated by users on it.
The Republican allies of Trump in Congress on Wednesday also released a memo describing their plans to “take on Big Tech.” It calls for antitrust measures to break up the monopoly of firms and a revamping of Section 230. In the case that the proposals would pass, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google may face significant consequences. Nevertheless, without a majority in either house, they will have difficulty passing legislation.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) July 7, 2021
Not only Trump but a large number of his followers and fellow republicans had been suspended from these platforms soon after the U.S. Presidential election. In January, Trump’s followers stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stall Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Trump was barred from the social media sites of these companies citing the fear that he would incite further violence by using his accounts. Facebook had also once removed the ad from Trump‘s wall concerning the immigration policy. There was no comment from all these three tech giants on the lawsuit.