Trump sues to restore his Twitter account
Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit in Florida seeking to force Twitter to reinstate him, arguing that the platform’s ban violates the First Amendment and Florida’s new social media law.
Trump is seeking a preliminary injunction to ban Twitter, according to a complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida late Friday. The former president argues that Twitter, “forced by members of the United States Congress”, is censoring the social media platform, describing them as “a major avenue of public discourse”. Trump wants to be temporarily reinstated on Twitter while he continues his efforts toward a permanent reinstatement.
The complaint states that Twitter “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is unfathomable, historically unprecedented and dangerous to open democratic debate.” The former president used his @RealDonaldTrump account to make policy and personnel decisions (often to the surprise of agencies and those involved), criticize political enemies, and spread misinformation about election results.
Twitter permanently banned @RealDonaldTrump in January, two days after the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol Building by pro-Trump supporters demanding to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Twitter first imposed a 12-hour ban on the former president’s account for “repeated and serious violations of our civil integrity policy” after he repeated tweets saying the election had been stolen. The forum made the ban permanent two days later. After the January 6 riots, other social platforms including Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube also banned the former president. Facebook’s oversight board later upheld that platform’s decision.
In Friday’s filing, Trump argues that his Twitter account “became an important source of news and information about government affairs and was a digital town hall,” where the former president posted his thoughts. At the time of the ban, Trump had 88 million Twitter followers. Trump also censored Twitter during his presidency by labeling some of his tweets as “misleading information”, which the platform called violated its rules against “glorifying violence”.
Trump’s complaint also cited Florida’s new social media law, which prohibits social media companies from “deliberately” removing politicians, and requires platforms to implement “censorship, deplatforming and shadow ban standards in a consistent manner.” are required to do. Trump argues that Twitter has not implemented its standards in a consistent manner. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law in May, but a federal judge blocked it in July before it took effect. DeSantis’s administration is appealing against that decision.
The former president also said that Twitter applied its rules regarding COVID-19 posts inconsistently, “to placate government actors who generally sanctioned the summer 2020 protests,” but “Rejected the events of January 6th.” The media had claimed, Trump’s argument, that the January 6 riots were a source of COVID-19 infections, but the summer protests were not. Data from multiple reports showed no increase in COVID-19 cases in cities where large protests took place in the summer of 2020, noting that outdoor masking at events helped keep cases down.
Twitter declined to comment on Saturday.
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