Donald Trump has started a class action lawsuit against Twitter, Google and Facebook, announced in a press conference on Wednesday and as a result of the tech companies banning or blocking him from posting on their networks.
“We’re asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people,” Trump said at the New Jersey golf club.
The former president’s personal Twitter account was shut down and he was suspended from posting on Facebook and Google-owned YouTube following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, due to their concerns that he might use their platforms to further incite violence.
Trump listed his key demands to the tech companies that he was lining up with his lawsuit, which included putting “an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well.”
“Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful,” he added. “It’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American.” Trump said his class-action lawsuit not only names the three tech giants, but chief executives Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, and Jack Dorsey––whom he described as “three real nice guys.”
Trump said his filing as “the first of numerous other lawsuits” and said that it will seek punitive damages from the companies. “This is a very, very important game changer for our country. It will be a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment and, in the end, I am confident that we will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time, freedom of speech,” he added. When asked by a reporter whether or not he will consider settling, Trump replied, “We’re not looking to settle. We don’t know what’s going to happen but we’re not looking to settle.”
However the lawyers who looked at the claims were less than impressed it would seem.
“I think the lawsuit has almost no chance of success,” Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick told CNBC, given that the companies are privately controlled and are not beholden to the same speech laws that public platforms are. “I think this is just a public relations lawsuit, and I’ll be honest with you, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends with sanctions against the lawyers for filing a frivolous lawsuit,” he said.