CHICAGO, United States
Former US President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is leading a class-action lawsuit against Twitter, Google and Facebook along with CEOs, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg.
Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for messages he sent during and after the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol building.
“Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional and it’s completely un-American,” Trump said at a news conference from his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
He said he will be joined in the lawsuit by others who have been kicked off social media platforms. A group called the American First Police Institute, a nonprofit which promotes Trump’s policies, is backing the lawsuit.
There have been no responses as of yet from the tech companies but a tech-promoting group called the Chamber of Progress, which is also a corporate partner of Twitter and Facebook, ridiculed the lawsuit.
“Right-wing extremists,” said CEO Adam Kovacevich, “are turning to the courts because their own platforms have collapsed after becoming anything-goes dumping grounds for hate, hoaxes and pornography.”
At issue in the lawsuit is part of the Communications Decency Act called “Section 230,” which provides a legal shield for tech companies when they decide what they allow to be posted on their sites — and what they do not allow.
Trump tried to get the section repealed while he was in office and he said Wednesday that he would like, at a minimum, to see changes to legal protections enjoyed by tech companies.
But many legal experts think Trump’s chances of success are slim. Some Republican lawmakers have worked to prevent social media sites from kicking politicians off their sites, but judges have stopped them, most recently in the state of Florida.
A judge ruled that the state’s new law to force tech companies to pay a fine if they ban a politician, is unconstitutional.
And tech companies have argued that who they let on or ban from their sites is, itself, a free-speech right.
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