As expected, former President Donald announced on Wednesday he plans to file lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well as the CEOs of each respective company. Trump announced the legal bid at a press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, promising the case would lead to an “end of the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing and the canceling that you know so well.” Trump and his lawyers, many of whom he said come from the tobacco industry, plan to file the lawsuits in the Southern District of Florida and hope to obtain class action status with each one.
Trump alleges the tech giants violated his First Amendment rights and even calls Facebook a “state actor” in one of the suits. The lawsuit against Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai names YouTube as a defendant. “Our case will prove this censorship is unconstitutional,” Trump said, adding that he plans to seek punitive damages from each of the companies. The decision to file the suits in Florida may prove an early roadblock for Trump. As noted by Reuters, both the Facebook and Twitter note in their terms of service that any case brought against them must done so at select courts in California.
Following the January 6th US Capitol riot, both Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump from their respective platforms. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time. The action comes more than two months after Facebook’s Oversight Board said the company’s suspension of the former president was “appropriate.” Facebook currently plans to uphold the ban until at least January 2023. Following the decision, Trump called Facebook’s actions a “total disgrace and an embarrassment to our country.”
We’ve reached out to Facebook and YouTube for comment, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from the companies. Twitter declined to comment.
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