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Trump sues Facebook, Twitter and Google, claiming censorship

Stock MarketsJul 07, 2021 08:40PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters during the Save America Rally at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida, U.S. July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

By Jason Lange and Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday filed lawsuits against Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc's Google, as well as their chief executives, alleging they unlawfully silence conservative viewpoints.

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

A Twitter representative declined to comment. Representatives of Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump lost his social media megaphone this year after the companies said he violated their policies against glorifying violence. Hundreds of his supporters launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after a Trump speech repeating his false claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts, state election officials and members of his own administration.

The lawsuits ask a judge to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that has been called the backbone of the internet because it provides websites with protections from liability over content posted by users. Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.

"This complaint is hard to even make sense of," said Paul Gowder, a professor of law at Northwestern (NASDAQ:NWE) University.

Trump sought to portray the social media companies as subject to the same First Amendment requirements as government entities when it comes to censorship, but Gowder said nothing in the lawsuits "even comes close to turning social media companies into government actors."

A federal judge in Florida last week blocked https://www.reuters.com/world/us/federal-judge-rules-florida-social-media-law-likely-violates-free-speech-2021-07-01 a recently enacted state law that was meant to authorize the state to penalize social media companies when they ban political candidates, with the judge saying the law likely violated free speech rights.

The lawsuit said the bill signed by Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in May was unconstitutional. It would have made Florida the first state to regulate how social media companies moderate online speech.

Trump sues Facebook, Twitter and Google, claiming censorship
 

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Comments (23)
Steffen vdm
Steffen vdm Jul 08, 2021 1:45AM ET
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Shouldn't anybody/any company be allowed to ban someone if they believe that this person's actions/views are against what they believe to be morally/legally acceptable? Isn't that also the "American freedom" Trump claims to defend?
Dan Hodel
Dan Hodel Jul 07, 2021 10:27PM ET
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Mark Zuckerberg reportedly went to the hospital today with chest & stomach pains, from laughing hysterically all day.
Adrian White
Adrian White Jul 07, 2021 10:02PM ET
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It's pretty pathetic when even an ex-president doesn't understand that the constitutional protection of free speech pertains to what government can or cannot do, not private or publicly-traded companies. Just another example of Trump falsely crying victim and trying to get back in the spotlight.
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Jul 07, 2021 9:58PM ET
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Best President we ever had. Thanks President Trump
Adrian White
Adrian White Jul 07, 2021 9:58PM ET
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Biggest liar, crybaby, and whiner who ever held office
Me comment
Me comment Jul 07, 2021 9:32PM ET
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Loser-Paloza steal money from his base to pay for more legal actions that have zero chance of success just like all his failed election fraud stolen election suits.
Patron Silver
Patron Silver Jul 07, 2021 7:33PM ET
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headline should read 'Ape-man attempts to keep his name in the news since he has no game left'
Matt Terry
Matt Terry Jul 07, 2021 3:19PM ET
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Dumpy at it again, using the campaign donations he scammed from his poor and uneducated base to pay for more failed political theater.
Golden Berg
goldenberg Jul 07, 2021 2:46PM ET
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Finally. I am happy to see all three scrooges globalist agenda exposed. China paid them handsomely to lie and deceive americans
Adrian White
Adrian White Jul 07, 2021 2:46PM ET
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How is companies enforcing their own Terms of Service a "globalist agenda"? What nonsense.
Dan Hodel
Dan Hodel Jul 07, 2021 2:44PM ET
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Trump just wants his Twitter back so he can tell everyone what wonderful things ***did…
Khwarizmi Algebra
Khwarizmi Algebra Jul 07, 2021 2:36PM ET
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Congress already did investigate this issue. These companies play by the book. So the maximum that can be is just modifying some regulations to ensure no monopoly or bad control by these companies.
Nicolas Duran
Nicolas Duran Jul 07, 2021 1:56PM ET
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Hundreds of his supporters launched peacefully on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6BLM & Leftists attacked.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Jul 07, 2021 1:56PM ET
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Pelosi and Schumer were in on the planned attack by BLM/ANTIFA.
Dan Hodel
Dan Hodel Jul 07, 2021 1:52PM ET
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I will always be grateful to Trump for curing windmill cancer…
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Jul 07, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Reuters, can you just for once report the actual news, instead of always adding “your agenda”?
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:59PM ET
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These MSM media outlets are paid/supported by globalists who have corporate agendas outside of their media reporting, like Amazon owning the New York Times. There is a reason they keep pushing out this overtly biased news despite falling ratings and massive drops in trust of US news (trust of US media is below 30%...almost as low as US approval of Congress).
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Sorry, meant Bezos bought Washington Post, not NY Times. Billionaires have been trying to buy up media outlets, and NY Times actually released a statement that they are not for sale.
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:59PM ET
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Sorry, meant Bezos bought Washington Post, not NY Times. Billionaires have been trying to buy up media outlets, and NY Times actually released a statement that they are not for sale.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Jul 07, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Can't say I blame him. Might not agree with him on alot. But his First amendment rights appears to have been violated. Why would they allow Louis Farrakhan a platform yet ban Trump? IDK Think he may win this
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Fortunately for Trump it will be an easy case, you have people like AOC/the squad and Maxine Waters who have spewed massive amounts of violent and hateful rhetoric and have not had repercussions. Can easily prove the biased behavior of these platforms in court.
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Fortunately for Trump it will be an easy case, you have people like AOC/the squad and Maxine Waters who have spewed massive amounts of overt violent and hateful rhetoric and have not had repercussions. Can easily prove the biased behavior of these platforms in court.
Adrian White
Adrian White Jul 07, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Sorry Lewis, but that's not how the law works. Show us a law that says a company or platform can't have their own bias. As for First Amendment rights, Trump and most of his supporters, don't seem to understand that it only applies to the government not censoring speech, not social media or private companies.
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:43PM ET
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Agree, I am not a democrat or a republican, I am an independent...but the leftists/democrat party have gone full North Korean/tyrannical/authoritarian mode and it has pushed me to support the republicans and Trump. The type of censorship and North Korea-style propaganda we have seen being pushed by the left should concern people of both sides, whether or not you agree. I do not agree with everything that democrats and republicans say, but I do not think that means they should be censored. Even looking at COVID-19, they were censoring scientists - heck, Twitter even deleted a post from the inventor of the mRNA vaccine...there was no "consensus" or "scientists say", they simply crafted a narrative and deleted the voices of those who disagreed with the narrative...like full blown tyrants. From a legal perspective, it is a breech of section 230. Companies do have the right to control content on their platforms, but the issue is falsely presenting themself as unbiased and breeching 230.
Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh Jul 07, 2021 12:40PM ET
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Good luck with that lol, only going to wasted his money on lawyer fees, well that is if he paid them.
Lewis Martin
Lewis Martin Jul 07, 2021 12:33PM ET
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Awesome, stuff like this and asking who shot Ashley Babbit has increased Trump's approval/support while Biden's is falling rapidly. Even with North Korea-style propaganda being spewed by MSM like Retuers and their push polling, they cannot hide the fact that Biden's approval is plummeting. Biden cannot even get a few thousand people to watch his speeches, meanwhile Trump's last couple of rallies have had over 1 million viewers online. Biden has even been trying to use Trump's talking points to gain support. RIP democrats during mid-terms and 2024. Even if Biden does not make it until 2024, Kamala was not even favored in her own state as presidential candidate. I dare democrats to put Kamala up against Trump. Kamala is even less liked than Hillary.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Jul 07, 2021 12:33PM ET
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Biden got 300 people only for 4July celebrations. I wonder how many kids he sniffed?
James Andrews
James Andrews Jul 07, 2021 12:22PM ET
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Break up Big Tech!
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Jul 07, 2021 12:15PM ET
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Pointless to sue communists.  It is time to create our own platform
Jerome Sheehan
JayShee Jul 07, 2021 12:00PM ET
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nice try
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jul 07, 2021 11:57AM ET
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The paid trolls of this platform do not get it censorship is bad for everyone. When you silence someone else freedom of speech this will end up affecting you as well. First Amendment is sacred and is being violated until everyone will suffer.
Junior Ju
Junior Ju Jul 07, 2021 11:55AM ET
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keep digging deeper grave
Me comment
Me comment Jul 07, 2021 11:30AM ET
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His bully techniques won't work with these big tech companies.
ben sc
ben sc Jul 07, 2021 11:30AM ET
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bots and Benjamin McIntyre paid opposition incoming in 3,2,1......
 
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