On January 6, when Donald Trump was still president of the United States, a group of protesters took the Capitol by force, arguing that Congress had allowed electoral fraud. Despite the violence, Trump did not energetically reject the situation, which led the large social networks to ban his accounts. The former president accused them of censorship and now assures that he is willing to take the case further by filing a lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
According to Trump, his intention is not only to present his case against the companies, he also said that he plans to sue the CEOs of each of the platforms. The former president announced his legal action at a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, promising that the case would lead to an "end to the shadowban, an end to the silencing and cancellation that you know so well."
Trump and his attorneys, many of whom he said come from the tobacco industry, plan to file lawsuits in the Southern District of Florida on allegations that the tech giants violated their First Amendment rights. In the specific case of Facebook, it even refers to the company as a "state actor" in one of the lawsuits. In turn, the lawsuit against Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai names YouTube as a defendant.
"Our case will show that this censorship is unconstitutional," Trump said, adding that he plans to seek punitive damages for each of the companies. However, the decision to file lawsuits in Florida can be an obstacle because, as the Engadget medium points out, both Facebook and Twitter state in their terms of service that any case that is brought against them must be made in select courts in California.
It is worth remembering that, after the events that took place in the Capitol, Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump from their respective platforms. "We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue using our service during this period are simply too great," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time. Sometime later, Twitter confirmed that it would not allow him to have an account again, while Facebook passed the decision to its Supervisory Board that approved the company's action but recommended that it reassess the status of the former president, Facebook's response was to maintain the ban until at least January 2023.
It must be remembered that when Donald Trump was president, he had a complicated relationship with social networks. In many cases, he preferred to use his personal accounts on these platforms instead of the official channels to express his opinion. Although he violated community rules on various occasions, he was not penalized because what he had to say was considered to be in the national interest. Until the events of the Capitol.
And since he left office, he has not stopped complaining about the treatment given to him by social platforms. He even recently declared that he should have eliminated them when he had the chance.
After Twitter operations were suspended in Nigeria, former President Trump issued an official statement lamenting his leniency with social media companies during his time in the White House. In the document, he first congratulated Nigeria for banning Twitter. The reason for that decision is that the social network deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari about a secessionist movement, which the government took as a violation of freedom of expression and a way to support its opponents.
And that is just what Trump believes he should have done with social media at the time. “More countries should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open expression; all voices should be heard. Meanwhile, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they are bad themselves? "
Added. “Maybe he should have banned them while he was president. But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to dinner at the White House telling me how great it was, "he said in his statement.
Although you have to be clear. The United States and its government are very different from that of Nigeria, so Trump's sayings should be taken with care because the reality is that he could hardly have banned social networks.