Michael Cardinal, FISM News
Former President Donald Trump filed a class action lawsuit against big-tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google and their respective executives for censoring him and others based on their conservative viewpoints.
He announced the lawsuit in a press conference from his golf course in New Jersey, saying that he is doing this to “hold big tech accountable.” He has filed the case in the US District Court of Miami to seek “an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people.”
The class-action status allows other individuals who have been victims of the “blacklisting, banishing, and cancelling” at the hands of the big-tech companies to be a part of the lawsuit which seeks punitive damages. Trump called the censorship that he and others have experienced “unlawful, unconstitutional, and un-American.” The lawsuit argues that these companies have, by and large, chosen to censure individuals from a conservative base, while allowing liberals to go unchecked who have made similar or worse comments .
The filing asks for the court to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which allows internet companies to “restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected” in good faith. This law has been a the center of the majority of lawsuits over internet activity as it frees companies from liability of what is posted on their platforms.
Trump has been banned from Twitter and Facebook since the January 6th Capitol riots. Both companies claim that he incited the riots of that day and also say that he violated their policies against “abusive behavior.” The former president had used social media as a way of bypassing the press throughout his tenure to speak directly to the American public, in an often brash and unfiltered way. His banishment from popular public outlets has limited his ability to speak to Americans, making this an unprecedented censure of a former president. As part of the lawsuit he is seeking “injunctive relief for prompt restitution of [his] accounts.”
At the heart of the lawsuit is the issue of the First Amendment. Trump and other conservatives have claimed their freedom of speech has been stripped due to their censure and banishment from these social media outlets, while liberals have claimed that Facebook, Twitter, Google and the like are private companies and are free to institute and enact policies around what can be posted on their platform.
This ties in with the multiple monopoly lawsuits against these tech companies. If Facebook, Twitter, and Google hold a monopoly on the market, then they would in effect limit the freedom of speech on the internet, which is the main means of disseminating information in today’s world. This is one of the reasons the lawsuit claims that these companies should be considered “state actors.”
Many law experts do not believe that this lawsuit will hold, as precedent shows support of Section 230 and that tech companies cannot be considered “state actors.” However, there is a growing opinion that something must be done in order to ensure that the internet is a fair playground for all. Many polls have shown that the American public believe that tech companies have too much sway over public thought and that there is more need for censorship regulations.