(BEDMINSTER, N.J.) —
Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is filing class action lawsuits against three of the country’s largest tech companies — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — all of which have banned the former president from their social media platforms.
At a press conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, Trump announced a “major class action lawsuit” against the three companies, demanding “a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well.”
The former president is currently banned from Twitter and Facebook — as well as YouTube, which is owned by Google — following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The lawsuits, which were filed in U.S. District Court for Florida’s southern district, argue that all three companies are actually government entities.
“Defendant Facebook has increasingly engaged in impermissible censorship resulting from threatened legislative action, a misguided reliance upon Section 230 of the Communications Act , 47 U.S.C. § 230, and willful participation in joint activity with federal actors,” the complaint against Facebook says. “Defendant Facebook’s status thus rises beyond that of a private company to that of a state actor. As such, Defendant is constrained by the First Amendment right to free speech in the censorship decisions it makes regarding its Users.”
Experts say that argument may face steep legal hurdles.
“This lawsuit argues that these social media platforms are bound by the First Amendment because they are the equivalent of government actors. It’s hard to imagine any judge in the country agreeing with them on this point,” ABC News analyst and former Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur said regarding the suits. “Given that Donald Trump is no stranger to litigation, he would also know that if this lawsuit isn’t dismissed on those grounds, he would be deposed, including about events around Jan. 6.”
The former president said the lawsuits seek injunctive relief to “allow prompt restitution and, really, restoration.”
“In addition, we are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants,” he said.
Since being removed from those platforms, Trump’s social media impact has plummeted, according to reports.
Moments after Wednesday’s press conference, Trump’s Save America PAC used the lawsuits in a fundraising pitch, asking supporters to donate “immediately.”
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.