BEDMINSTER, New Jersey, July 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Former President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is filing a class action lawsuit against Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for banning him from their social media platforms.
Trump announced he will be the lead – but not the only – plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to reverse the forced removal of him “and other brave patriots” from the world’s largest communication platforms, as well as punitive damages. The suit will be backed by the America First Policy Institute, a relatively new organization led by former Trump officials Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins.
Trump argued that while Big Tech companies are technically private entities, that no longer accurately captures the full reality of the situation in light of “collusion” with and “coercion” from government to silence Democrats’ political enemies, between the federal rule Section 230, which exempts them from legal liability for the user content they allow, and pressure from Democrat politicians. Last month, leaked emails revealed that President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign urged Facebook to remove a video from their then-opponent’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
Both Facebook and Twitter used the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, which Democrats and their allies tried to argue was “incited” by Trump, as a pretext to ban Trump from the platform, claiming to fear further violence that would supposedly be inspired by Trump’s words. In June, following calls from the company’s so-called “Oversight Board” to develop new rules on the matter, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg announced “new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases” such as Trump’s, and that the ex-president’s ban will remain in effect until January 7, 2023, two years after his suspension began at the beginning of this year.
However, especially in light of Big Tech’s increasing brazenness in acting against conservative speech over the past several years, conservatives argue those justifications were just a pretext for quashing Trump’s effective use of social media in the 2016 presidential election, which Google insiders vowed to ensure would be no more than a “blip in history” in leaked video of a private meeting following the election.
It is still not known whether Trump plans to run for president again in 2024, but if he does, not being on Twitter is expected to have a significant impact. Trump’s deplatforming led to “Americans’ consumption of media about Trump…dropping to lower levels than at any point since he first announced his bid for the presidency in 2015,” Axios reports. “Clicks to Trump stories fell 81% from January to February, another 56% from February to March and 40% from March to April, according to exclusive data from SocialFlow.”
Beyond the personal ramifications for Trump, many conservatives argue that action to rein in Big Tech is long overdue. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May a new law imposing strict limits on social media platforms’ ability to censor political candidates and journalistic enterprises (the law was recently blocked by a liberal judge). Nationally, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced legislation to impose new limits on tech platforms’ immunity from liability for third-party content, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed reforming antitrust laws to limit Big Tech’s power, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested social media companies be regulated akin to “common carriers” of information such as phone companies.