Former President Donald Trump Filed a Censorship Lawsuit Against Facebook, Twitter, and Google

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™

Former President Donald Trump Filed a Censorship Lawsuit Against Facebook, Twitter, and Google

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™

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A new series of class-action lawsuits filed by former president Donald Trump against Facebook, Google, and Twitter argues that these big-tech and media companies should be viewed as state actors, and therefore should be subject to First Amendment restrictions on government limitations on free speech; these suits seek to end the practice of banning, censorship, and “canceling” online voices as the defendant’s see fit. Supporters of the tech companies argue that disallowing them from banning certain users is a violation of their own First Amendment rights; these companies have argued that banning or censoring users allows them to maintain their standards and that they are well within their right to refuse to carry the speech of third parties.

There is serious debate over whether or not these lawsuits have a chance at success.

While similar lawsuits in the past have not succeeded in halting social media and tech companies from censorship, primarily because these are private corporations and not government entities, the power that certain tech and media titans like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have accumulated in recent years cannot be ignored. Whether or not this power calls for a redefining of the companies’ state actor status remains to be seen, but if proven could install new restrictions on what, when, and how the companies can restrict or remove user content. 

These lawsuits follow the defendants’ bans of Trump following the January 6th Capitol riot, as well as the alleged censorship of other conservative voices.

The issue at hand does not seem to be whether or not censorship is happening, but whether or not the government has any right to tell these private corporations that they cannot choose who to allow to use their platform or not. In a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump called these companies’ behavior an “illegal and shameful censorship of the American people”. The lawsuits are seeking punitive damages in an unspecified amount and for federal judges to overturn Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. As the outcome of these lawsuits is not exactly predictable, both sides of the issue wait with baited breath to see what changes if any will come about as a result of the judges’ decision. 

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