On Wednesday, former president Donald Trump sued three tech giants as they had banned him from their social media platforms after the January 6 riot where his supporters had stormed the Capitol. He has a lifelong suspension from Twitter, a two-year suspension from Facebook and YouTube’s parent company Alphabet said that it is continuously monitoring the threat of violence.
Trump announced that he will file the lawsuits together with two leaders from the American First Policy Institute. He made the announcement from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. He said the three tech giants had violated their First Amendment rights. The suit also asked the court to declare Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be unconstitutional. Section 230 prevents tech companies liability for content users post on their platform.
Trump has filed the lawsuits in federal court in Miami Florida against
- Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg
- Google (YouTube) and its parent company Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai
- Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey
Most law experts think that the lawsuits will not have any impact, and some have even called it a publicity stunt. Trump not only lost access to his favorite platform Twitter but also lost the chance to reach out and influence millions of people, not necessarily supporters, through Facebook and YouTube.
He had begun blogging and used other social media platforms created by his supporters but none of them have a reach similar to the above three. Rumble, a right-leaning video platform, live streamed his current press conference. Trump has said that he will not settle the case.
Matt Schruers, the President of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which is a tech industry trade group whose members include Facebook, Twitter, and Google, said that internet companies can apply their terms of service. The three tech companies that have been sued are private ones and every user has to abide by their rules. He called it “frivolous class action litigation.”
Another expert, Professor Brian Fitzpatrick, a law professor from Vanderbilt University told CNBC in a phone interview that he thought that the lawsuit had almost no chance of success. He also called it “frivolous.”
Various news agencies have reached out to representatives for Facebook, Twitter, and Google but all of them declined to comment.