Trump to sue Facebook, Twitter, Google over alleged censorship, says they've 'ceased to be private'
Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the First Amendment from New Jersey
Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he will lead a lawsuit over alleged censorship against Twitter, Facebook and Google — three tech companies that removed him from their platforms after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
The lawsuit will be a class-action, with Trump as the lead plaintiff, claiming that he’s been censored by the companies. He spoke about the legal action 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.”
Twitter, YouTube and Facebook each barred Trump over his false claims that the presidential election was stolen, alleging that he contributed to the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. YouTube is owned by Google.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Trump was banned from most major social media platforms shortly after Jan. 6. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
( (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images))
“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 in a blog post about its decision.
But Republicans and Trump himself have maintained that these companies are unfairly censoring conservatives, pointing to international dictators who still can post on Twitter.
Trump said that the lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of Florida, seeking “injunctive relief” against “shameful censorship of the American people.”
“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.”
Trump’s lawsuit is going to be led by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit run by several allies and alumni from the Trump administration. AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins introduced Trump before he remarks Wednesday.
“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 continued.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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