USA: Former President Donald Trump has taken his criticism of social media to a new level, by filing class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and against their CEOs.
Trump’s lawsuits were first reported by Axios, citing sources – and the former president later formally announced his intentions during a Wednesday press conference, in which he said his actions are being taken on behalf of the victims of cancel culture.
Speaking from Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump called his lawsuits a “very beautiful development for our freedom and freedom of speech.” He said the lawsuit, in which he is the lead plaintiff, is targeting the “Big Tech giants” for their “censorship” of conservatives such as himself.
Trump was banned from numerous social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, following the Capitol riot on January 6, with many critics accusing the former president of inflammatory rhetoric and of inciting violence in his posts. Facebook recently announced Trump’s suspension will last at least another two years.
The conservative non-profit group America First Policy Institute is behind Trump’s lawsuit. The organization is one of many on the right that have accused social media companies of political bias. The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, also includes multiple other plaintiffs who claim they have been unlawfully banned from social media platforms. Some joined Trump during his Wednesday press conference.
The lawsuit seeks an “immediate halt” to social media companies’ censorship, demanding “an end to the shadowbanning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting.”
Trump blasted censorship as “unlawful and unAmerican.” He specifically targeted social media companies like Facebook and YouTube policing posts they claimed spread disinformation during the pandemic, including theories that Covid-19 was man made – a theory that is now not as quickly dismissed. Companies like Google, Trump said, have been “deputized” by the US government to act as a “de facto censorship arm.”
Former President Trump announces class action lawsuit against big tech giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter: “We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and cancelling that you know so well.” pic.twitter.com/BXPKcACOj2
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 7, 2021
On top of seeking the restitution of banned social media accounts, including his own, Trump’s lawsuit also seeks “punitive damages.” The former president called this lawsuit a “game changer for the country.”
Trump’s social media future continues to be in question for both his critics and supporters. He continues to release public statements, some similar in tone to his past tweets, and he even utilized a now-defunct blog site for a short period of time. Rumors recently swirled that Trump could soon be announcing his involvement with GETTR, a social media platform site run by former spokesperson Jason Miller that was launched last week.