Trump Files Suit Against Facebook, Twitter And YouTube

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Former President Donald Trump imitates the shooting of a gun with his finger while talking about gun violence in Chicago as he speaks at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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Former President Donald Trump has filed suit against three of the country’s biggest tech companies, claiming he and other conservatives have been wrongfully censored.

Trump announced the action against Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube, along with the companies’ CEOs, at a press conference in New Jersey on Wednesday. He was joined by other plaintiffs in the suits, which were filed in federal court in Miami.

“We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” he said.

Under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, social media platforms are allowed to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, so long as they are acting in “good faith.” The law also generally exempts internet companies from liability for the material that users post.

But Trump and some other politicians have long argued that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have abused that protection and should lose their immunity — or at least have to earn it by satisfying requirements set by the government.

Trump was suspended from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after his followers stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The companies cited concerns that he would incite further violence.

Nonetheless, Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election, baselessly claiming that he won, even though state and local election officials, his own attorney general and numerous judges, including some he appointed, have said there is no evidence of the mass voter fraud he alleges.

Facebook, Google and Twitter all declined comment Wednesday.

The suits argue that banning or suspending Trump and the other plaintiffs is a violation of the First Amendment, despite the fact that the companies are private. The suit against Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook acted unconstitutionally when it removed Trump from the platform. Suits against Twitter and YouTube make similar claims. All three ask the court to award unspecified damages, declare Section 230 unconstitutional and restore Trump’s accounts, along with those of the other plaintiffs – a handful of others who have all had posts or accounts removed.

But Trump’s lawsuits are likely doomed to fail, said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who has studied more than 60 similar, failed lawsuits over the past few decades that sought to take on internet companies for terminating or suspending users’ accounts.

“They’ve argued everything under the sun, including First Amendment, and they get nowhere,” Goldman said. “Maybe he’s got a trick up his sleeve that will give him a leg up on the dozens of lawsuits before him. I doubt it.”

Goldman said it’s likely Trump is instead pursuing the suits to garner attention. As president, Trump last year signed an executive order challenging Section 230.

“It was always about sending a message to their base that they’re fighting on their behalf against the evil Silicon Valley tech giants,” Goldman said.

Matt Schruers, the president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a tech industry trade group that includes Facebook, Twitter and Google, said internet companies have a right to enforce their terms of service.

“Frivolous class action litigation will not change the fact that users — even U.S. Presidents — have to abide by the rules they agreed to,” he said in a statement.

(AP)


7 COMMENTS

  1. Trump should know that this is a frivolous law suit as the First Amendment only applies to government. One must assume that this is an attempt to bring in more contributions from his followers.

  2. I have three comments about this story.

    1. This article is clearly written with an anti-Trump bias. For example, it throws out a totally irrelevant negative comment:

    “Nonetheless, Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election, baselessly claiming that he won, even though state and local election officials, his own attorney general and numerous judges, including some he appointed, have said there is no evidence of the mass voter fraud he alleges”.

    This paragraph has nothing to do with the article. We’re talking about a lawsuit against Big Tech, not Trump’s honesty regarding the election.

    Since it is anti-Trump, it also left out the main thrust of Trump’s new argument: emails have recently become public showing that Fauci communicated with Zuckerberg advising him to do the censorship he has been doing, which makes the censorship government-sponsored rather than in the private sector, and a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. So thank you YWN for a bunch of misinformation.

    2. Although I believe it is wrong and wrong-headed to censor opinion on big tech in America, I am glad that Trump was shut down. He probably lost the election due to his BIG MOUTH.

    3. Although Trump’s arguments may have merit, legally and otherwise, I still feel that his lawsuit is doomed to fail, due to the reluctance of courts and judges to endorse many of Trump’s “initiatives” lately, like even his Supreme Court justices declining to take a number of his election fraud cases. So all in all, it is a grand, embarrassing waste of time.

  3. Facebook, Google and Twitter all declined comment Wednesday. because they are trembling in their pants, knowing that they are doomed, & this is heading all the way up the Supreme court, and going to cost them lots of legal expenses & aggravation.

  4. His argument is that the media companies should be seen as common carriers, who are required to serve the entire public without discrimination. That might be the case with an internet service provider (the company that sets up the cables or wi-fi that allow one to access the internet), but Twitter and Facebook are private companies with their own right to freedom of expression, giving them the right to support the Democrats and the “Woke” community, and to censor anyone they disagree with. If you hold that private companies do not have 1st amendment rights, it would open the door to all sorts of media censorship especially in New York and California where most of the media companies are based.

  5. This is just another way of scamming his followers out of their money. When you go to the site where supposedly people can sign up for joining the class action, the only sign up possible is to donate to the AFPI.
    What this genius doesn’t seem to understand that if section 230 was repealed, it would only lead to more censorship, not less, as the tech companies would be more liable for what is posted and therefore need to censor more.

  6. FrumWhere:
    AP is muchzak to lie.

    When reading an AP “story”, you have to assume that they are lying and then question how much truth, if any, there is among all their lies.

    I knew that this was an AP “story”/pack of lies, as soon as I read:
    “Trump was suspended from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after his followers stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The companies cited concerns that he would incite further violence.

    Nonetheless, Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election, baselessly claiming that he won…”

    Like you wrote:
    1. They are falsely claiming that President Trump “incited violence” when he told his supporters at his rally to march “peacefully”.
    2. The alleged “storming” occurred while President Trump was still speaking at the rally. The guards at the building let in those people there, including leftist terrorists. So it is not accurate and misleading to call it “stormed”.
    3. It was not only “his [President Trump’s] followers” that “stormed” the building but a mixed group.

    Regarding your #2:
    It is very obvious how President Trump’s reelection was stolen from him (including by the lying AP and others in the media). His alleged “big mouth” was obviously not the reason.

    Regarding your #3:
    The obvious reason the courts did not take his election cases is that they didn’t want riots in the streets when he would, inevitably, be proven right.

  7. Most people with a internet filter can’t go on Twitter or something like it. So please bring us those videos direct on the site downloaded thanks