Former President Donald Trump has been banned from most major social media networks since soon after the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
This week, he announced that he would be fighting back in court with class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google-owned YouTube.
“A stop to the silencing”
His complaint is said to hinge on the argument that the companies colluded with government officials and served as “state actors” to violate his First Amendment right to free speech.
The separate lawsuits were filed against the three social media firms and their respective CEOs: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and Sundar Pichai of Google.
In court documents related to the suits, Trump seeks reinstatement of his suspended accounts, unspecified damages, and a court’s declaration that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which limits liability for tech companies, is unconstitutional.
Trump addressed the recent move during a press conference at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, insisting that the lawsuits were filed in response to the “illegal, shameful censorship of the American people” by the trio of tech giants.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well,” he said. “Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American.”
“Victory for American freedom”
The former president went on to claim that the suits represented an “important gamechanger” that he believes will serve as “a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment” and end with “a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time freedom of speech.”
Trump is being represented in this matter by the America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization formed by former staffers and supporters of his administration.
Of course, legal experts say he is unlikely to achieve a resounding success in court. Some critics maintain he is more interested in attracting publicity and raising funds than in establishing a legal precedent.
The most obvious roadblock in Trump’s path is that the First Amendment applies only to the government and not private entities like social media platforms. Furthermore, prior lawsuits challenging the decision to ban or suspend users have universally failed in court.
Regardless of the outcome, Trump is once again proving to his supporters that he is willing to push back against the establishment — in this case, Democratic Party-aligned Big Tech firms — even when it appears the odds are stacked against him.