At a press conference on Wednesday, July 7, former President Trump announced a class action lawsuit against tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube parent company Google, alleging heavy “unlawful censorship” against him and the conservative public.
From his Bedminster, New Jersey estate, Trump, along with his team of lawyers, announced that the goal of the lawsuits is first and foremost to protect the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said at his golf course in Bedminster, N.Y. Jersey.
Despite the complexities of the situation, Trump was upbeat about it, asserting, “We will prove that this censorship is illegal, unconstitutional and completely un-American.”
The lawsuits will be filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. They will ask the judge to order the immediate cessation of all “bans, censorship, blacklisting and cancellations” of individuals and institutions expressing political views outside the mainstream by social media companies.
The legal actions filed are supported by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a non-profit organization dedicated to constitutional litigation to restore the most fundamental rights of Americans. However, Trump stressed that he is listed in the cases as the lead plaintiff.
AFPI’s president, CEO, board chair, and former Trump staffers Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins joined him during the announcement.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google banned Trump from their platforms for his claims and allegations regarding the 2020 presidential election being stolen by the Democratic Party. Twitter reported that Trump’s ban would be permanent. Facebook imposed a two-year ban on the former president’s account. Google-owned YouTube mentioned that it would not reduce its suspension until it determines the alleged “risk of violence” has diminished.
Both affected firms, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, were named in the lawsuits.
Trump and his legal team’s accusations are aimed at convincing the judges that the tech giants are not operating as private companies simply pursuing economic gain. On the contrary with their actions, they are playing politics and following a clear ideology that goes against the traditional values of the homeland.
He also accused Joe Biden’s government of using Facebook, Twitter, and Google as a “de facto censorship arm” during the pandemic caused by COVID-19, as was the case with allegations that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory. It was also the same when professionals and politicians talked about super-efficient preventive drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and were silenced entirely on social networks.
He also criticized the shield of legal protection that Big Tech has with the controversial Section 230 that these companies use to disassociate themselves from any responsibility for what happens within their platforms. The original intent of Section 230 was to protect children from harmful content.
Using a class action lawsuit as a legal tool, Trump is leading a broad group of people who claim they have been censored due to political bias. As he declared, “thousands of people” want to join the lawsuit, which he called the largest lawsuit of its kind.
“We ask the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants. We’re going to hold Big Tech very accountable. This is the first of numerous other lawsuits,” the former president said.