Trump sues Facebook, Twitter and Google claiming censorship

Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally. Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON: Former US President Donald Trump filed lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook, and Google as well as their chief executives, alleging they unlawfully silence conservative viewpoints.

The lawsuits, filed in US District Court in Miami, alleged the California-based social media platforms violated the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Trump is seeking class action status for the lawsuits, meaning he would represent the interests of other users of Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s YouTube who allege they have been unfairly silenced.

He filed three lawsuits making similar allegations — one against Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, one against Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, and one against Google and its CEO Sundar Pichai.

“We will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time, freedom of speech,” Trump said at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The nation’s top tech firms have become the “enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship,” added Trump, who was banned from posting on Facebook and Twitter in the wake of the deadly January 6 siege of the US Capitol by his supporters.

Trump says he is being joined in the suit by the America First Policy Institute and thousands of American citizens who have been “de-platformed” from social media sites.

“Through this lawsuit we are standing up for American democracy by standing up for free speech rights of every American — Democrat, Republican, independent, whoever it may be,” Trump said. “This lawsuit is just the beginning.”

Trump said he is filing the suit in US District Court in southern Florida, where he is seeking an immediate halt to censorship, blacklisting and what he called the “cancelling” of people who share his political views. Trump stressed that he is not looking for any sort of a settlement. “We’re in a fight that we’re going to win,” he said.

Facebook banned Trump indefinitely on January 7 over his incendiary comments that preceded the Capitol insurrection by his supporters one day earlier. Twitter quickly followed suit and permanently suspended Trump’s account due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.” In June, following a review by Facebook’s independent oversight board, Facebook narrowed the ban to two years.

Trump said YouTube and its parent organization Google have deleted “countless videos” addressing the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, including those that questioned the judgement of the World Health Organization.

Trump has begun a series of public engagements, including campaign-style rallies, as he seeks to maintain his status as the most influential Republican in the nation. He has teased a potential 2024 presidential run but has made no announcement on his political future.