Former United States President Donald Trump has sued Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, and their chief executives, for blocking him from using their social media platforms
Trump filed three separate class-action lawsuits in federal court in Florida against the tech giants and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai while saying during a Wednesday press conference that the move is to defend his First Amendment rights.
“We’re going to hold big tech very accountable,” Trump said during the press conference at his Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone.”
Trump is seeking court orders to restore his social-media accounts, along with punitive damages, to ensure other users can’t be banned or flagged by the tech giants.
Twitter permanently banned Trump in January for his role in stoking the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a deadly riot to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden.
Facebook last month said Trump would remain suspended from its networks for at least two years, with the possibility of being reinstated in 2023 if the risk to public safety will have subsided.
YouTube, Google’s giant video service, also froze Trump’s account following the Jan. 6 riot. The former president’s videos are still accessible, but he isn’t permitted to post new videos. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive, has said that the company will reverse its policy when it decides that the “risk of violence has decreased,” without providing details.
Facebook, Google and Twitter declined to comment on the suits, which were criticized by tech-funded advocacy groups. NetChoice, whose members include Amazon and other tech companies, said the action shows a “deliberate misunderstanding of the First Amendment” and is without merit.
“President Trump has no case,” NetChoice CEO Steve DelBianco said in a release. “The First Amendment is designed to protect the media from the President, not the other way around.”