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Trump Sues Facebook, Twitter, And Google After He Was Booted From The Platforms

Months after he was barred for inciting the violent Jan 6 Capitol insurrection, the former president now claims the social media platforms limit free speech and censor users.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 07, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey. | Getty Images
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 07, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey. | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump announced that he would sue Facebook, Twitter, and Google, along with the tech companies’ respective CEOs, in his continued battle against social media.

In a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey Wednesday morning, Trump announced the filing of a class action lawsuit in the southern district of Florida against the three companies. Trump named Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai as part of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit would ask the court to issue “an immediate halt” to the companies’ “illegal, shameful censorship of the American people,” Trump said.

“We’re 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 former president continued. “Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American, we all know that.”

In the lawsuit, Trump claims, with no evidence, that Facebook is a “state actor,” or in other words, part of the U.S. government.

Trump has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube — whose parent company is Google — since January, after the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection. Each of the social media sites barred Trump for inciting the violence — which he was also impeached for. Twitter has upheld Trump’s ban, while Facebook announced last month that the former president would be suspended from its platform until January 2023. YouTube will maintain the ban so long as an “elevated violence risk still remains,” the company’s CEO Susan Wojcicki said in May. After being de-platformed, Trump launched a blog to communicate with his base of followers, but then proceeded to shut it down in June after being live for less than a month.

Trump claimed in the lawsuit that he was banned from the websites “for exercising his constitutional right of free speech.”

Facebook, Twitter, and Google have not commented on Trump’s latest lawsuit.

Trump’s battle with the social media companies has been ongoing, and began while he was still in office; Twitter, by far his most frequently-used social platform, began flagging his tweets and hiding them last year over misinformation concerns. In May 2020, Trump signed an executive order targeting the social media companies, but according to CNN, the order bordered on unconstitutional. President Joe Biden has since rescinded the executive order.

Trump’s recent legal attempt matches his litigious past against systems that he feels wronged him — including his attempted lawsuits against several states after losing the 2020 election. Much like those failed election lawsuits, some legal experts predict the same fate for his attack on big tech.

“The lawsuit is a legally frivolous publicity stunt that has essentially no chance of succeeding in court but a high chance of drawing a lot of attention,” Blake Reid, a professor at the University of Colorado Law School, told the New York Times.

The social media companies have been safe from other lawsuits in the past, largely because federal law allows them to regulate their platforms in ways that they see fit. A user must sign off on each of the platforms’ terms and usage before joining, a mandatory step meant to protect the companies from claims of censorship.

Trump’s next steps for the lawsuit include raising funds through the America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit founded by his former aides.

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