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Former President Donald Trump announces ‘major’ class action against Twitter, Facebook and Google

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday (July 7 US time) announced he would file lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook and Google because the three big tech companies suspended his account from the previous day. 6 months after the infiltration of the Capitol on January 6.

(Artwork: Ascannio/Shutterstock)

Speaking from his estate in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr. Trump and his team said the lawsuits are about protecting freedom of speech under the First Amendment, the United States Constitution. They argued that Mr. Trump’s right to free speech was taken away when three big tech companies (Big Tech) banned his account.

Mr. Trump has described the “major” lawsuits as “a very nice development” to protect freedom of expression in the United States. These lawsuits will be filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and will ask the judge to order an immediate halt to the social media companies’ practices such as tacit bans, censorship, and naming. blacklisting, and eradicating those who express political views other than the mainstream media.

“It’s destroying this country,” Trump said of social media controlling political discussion.

Twitter, Facebook and Google in January said they banned Mr. Trump for his claims that the November 3, 2020 election was stolen and that they accused him of contributing to the January 6 riots. Twitter executives said Trump’s ban would be permanent, Facebook announced it would impose a two-year ban on the former president’s account, and Google’s YouTube said it would maintain his account suspension. Trump until they determine whether “the risk of violence has decreased.”

The lawsuit filed by Trump and his team names the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter as Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey, as well as the names of the companies. Mr. Trump said the lawsuits will try to force the court to decide the three tech companies must pay compensation due to the suspension orders.

Mr. Trump argued that social media companies “are no longer private companies” and invoked the Section 230 shield of the Communication Standards Act 1996 that they use to protect themselves from responsibility for the content on their social platforms. Republicans have also been arguing that Section 230 has allowed Big Tech companies to censor political opponents, and some Republicans have even argued that social media giants should be regulated. as public services.

“This lawsuit is just the beginning,” Trump said of the Big Tech lawsuits.

Section 230 of the Communications Standards Act 1996 allows internet companies to be exempt from most liability for the content that users post to their platforms. This provision also allows social media platforms to regulate their services through the removal of posts that are obscene or violate the standards set by the platforms themselves, provided they act of “goodwill”.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers say the lawsuit will focus on Section 230 provisions. They argue that the law was enacted in the 1990s to protect children from harm caused by internet content. . Trump’s lawyers argue that the way Big Tech companies currently use Section 230 as a shield goes beyond the original purpose of the law.

“They’re not exempt anymore,” said lawyer Pam Bondi.

Meanwhile, the former president also seems to be foreshadowing the possible criticisms his opponents will have about his lawsuit. Mr Trump said it was the mainstream media and Democratic politicians who were the “biggest disinformation players”. He described mainstream media stories around Republicans wanting to “cut the police budget” and allegations of Russian collusion and COVID-19 as false.

During Wednesday’s press conference, Trump accused the federal government of using Facebook, Twitter and Google as their “de facto censorship arm” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Trump added that a statement that had been censored was the assertion last year that COVID-19 emerged from a Wuhan laboratory. But earlier this year, President Joe Biden said many members of the US intelligence community now view the lab leak theory as possible.

“The obvious fact is that during the pandemic social media companies have begun to censor information” according to federal health guidance, the former president said.

Since leaving office, Mr. Trump has chosen to release statements through the Political Action Committee to Save America, which he founded and through a subpage of his personal website, which has now been removed. removed. The former president said on July 7 that he was not sure if he would join Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube if his lawsuit was successful.

Trump announced that the legal effort was sponsored by the America First Institute for Policy. He also added that he believes thousands of others will join his lawsuit.

The Epoch Times said it has reached out to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to request comment on Trump’s lawsuits, but has not received a response.

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