President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced class action lawsuits against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Alphabet (Google, YouTube) CEO Sundar Pichai over being banned from their various social media platforms.
“There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting president of the United States earlier this year,” Trump said during a press conference. “If they can do it to me they can do it to anyone… Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful. It’s unconstitutional and it’s completely unAmerican.”
Class action lawsuits enable Trump to sue the tech CEOs on behalf of a broader group of people that he argues have been censored by biased, arbitrary policies.
“While the social media companies are officially private entities, in recent years they have ceased to be private with the enactment and their historical use of Section 230, which profoundly protects them from liability,” Trump said. “It is in effect a massive government subsidy, these companies have been co-opted, coerced and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship.” He called the social media companies “the de-facto censorship arm of the U.S. government.”
Trump announced at an 11 a.m. press conference Wednesday that he is the lead class representative in a lawsuit being filed with the Southern District of Florida.
The filing, Trump said, seeks immediate injunctive relief to allow the prompt restoration his social media accounts. He also said he is asking the court to impose “punitive damages” on the three social media giants.
Trump’s legal effort is supported by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a non-profit focused on perpetuating Trump’s policies, through a new legal entity called the Constitutional Litigation Partnership.
AFPI’s president and CEO and board chair, former Trump officials Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins, accompanied him during the announcement.
“Today, in conjunction with the American First Policy Institute, I’m filing as the lead class representative, a major class action lawsuit against the big tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter as well as their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey. Three real nice guys,” Trump said with a note of sarcasm from Bedminster, New Jersey.
“We’re asking the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to stop social media companies’ illegal and shameful censorship of the American people. That’s exactly what they’re doing.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” he added.
Trump accused the big tech companies of violating Americans’ First Amendment rights by selectively censoring information.
Several Republical lawmakers also backed Trump, accusing tech giants of a double standard, pointing out that Democrats including Hillary Clinton also challenged the validity of past election results.
“Unless Congress acts, Big Tech is going to continue to censor Americans and trample on our foundational principles of free speech and open exchange of ideas in an effort to control what Americans say, hear, and think,” Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) said at the time. “Despite recently being exposed for wrongly banning and suppressing information regarding the origins of COVID-19, Facebook is now doubling down on its censorship playbook.”
Hagerty and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have both introduced legislation in Congress aimed at reeling in the power of big tech companies.
MacDailyNews Note: The video of the press conference announcing class action lawsuits against the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google: