Donald Trump just announced that he is suing Twitter, Facebook and Google/YouTube for censorship.
The tech giants all kicked him off from their platforms after the January 6 storming of the Capitol by protestors.
The former president talked about the lawsuit from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“I stand before you this morning to announce a very important… development for our freedom and freedom of speech,” Trump said. “In conjunction with the America First Policy Institute, I’m filing, as the lead class-action representative, a major class-action lawsuit against the big tech giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as their CEOs.”
“There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting president of the United States earlier this year,” he added. “If they can do it to me they can do it to anyone.”
BREAKING: President Trump has filed a MAJOR Class Action Lawsuit against Big Tech and their CEOs pic.twitter.com/Kpdw0LNv1Z
— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) July 7, 2021
The platforms banned Trump over his claims that Joe Biden won by cheating, while also alleging that he incited violence at the Capitol.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter wrote at the time.
But Trump and people on the right have argued that these companies are biased when it comes to censorship and pointed at international human rights violators who still have a platform on their sites.
Trump's Facebook lawsuit is filed in federal court in Florida. Facebook's terms of service requires that "any claim, cause of action, or dispute you have against us" be filed in federal court in northern California or San Mateo County state court.
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) July 7, 2021
Trump said the lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of Florida, going after “injunctive relief” against “shameful censorship of the American people.” There were three complaints in total filed in Miami federal court under his name last Wednesday, one against each of the tech platforms.
“While the social media companies are officially private entities, in recent years they have ceased to be private with the enactment and their historical use of Section 230, which profoundly protects them from liability,” Trump said. “It is in effect a massive government subsidy, these companies have been co-opted, coerced and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship.”
The former president referred to the companies as “the de facto censorship arm of the U.S. government.”
He also said that “this was especially clear during the pandemic,” citing policies against contradicting health experts and the fact that the platforms blocked the spread of information alleging that Covid-19 came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Social media companies need not worry about Donald Trump’s lawsuit. He and his legal team have sued us countless of times — and we are still here making his life miserable.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 7, 2021
Trump’s allegations were countered by Shoshana Weissmann of the libertarian R Street Institute, which supports a robust reading of Section 230 to provide broad protections to tech companies. She said the claim that tech companies “benefiting from a law prevents them from being private is asinine.”
“Government cannot wave a wand and say ‘you’re public now,'” Weissmann added. “The idea that this is a subsidy is also nowhere near the truth… And finally, government pressuring companies or companies taking cues from government entities also does not magically turn them into government actors.”
“This is a full misunderstanding of how the law works,” she said.
In charge of Trump’s case is the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit organization run by a number of allies and alumni from his administration.
AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins introduced Trump before Wednesday’s speech.
“It’s no surprise then that they want the First Amendment gone,” Rollins said of “progressives” and “elites.”
“They don’t advocate for abolition… but they do advocate for curtailing it into meaninglessness. Nowhere is that more evident than in the suppression of First Amendment rights online,” she added.
— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) July 7, 2021
Pam Bondi, also a member of AFPI, said the case is not just for republicans who believe they are under attack, but also to protect everyone else.
“This isn’t just for conservatives, this is for our media… this is for Democrats and even progressives whose speech should be protected under the First Amendment,” she said. “Do you remember that Tulsi Gabbard was censored when she was running for president?”
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