In a significant development, former U.S. President Donald Trump has filed several lawsuits against Alphabet Inc’s Google, Twitter Inc, and Facebook Inc, alleging that the tech giant have unlawfully silenced conservative points of view. Trump has also filed lawsuits against the CEOs of these three social giants.
Trump’s lawsuits, filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami, allege the California-based social media platforms had violated the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Trump is seeking class action status for the lawsuits, meaning he would represent the interests of other users of Twitter, Facebook, and Google’s YouTube who allege they have been unfairly silenced. He has filed three lawsuits with similar allegations, against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, and against Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai.
“We will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and at the same time, freedom of speech,” said Trump at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
A representative from Twitter declined comment. Representatives from Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
Earlier this year, the three social media giants banned Trump from their platforms citing violation of their policies against glorifying violence. On January 6, 2021, hundreds of Trump’s supporters had assembled on the U.S. Capitol following a speech by Trump wherein he had alleged that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud. This assertion has been rejected by state election officials, multiple courts, and members of his own administration.
Trump’s lawsuits have asked a judge to invalidate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that has been called the backbone of the internet because it provides websites with protections from liability over content posted by users. Trump and others who have attacked Section 230 say it has given big internet companies too much legal protection and allowed them to escape responsibility for their actions.
The development comes at a time when social media companies are under the lens across the globe for mass censorship on information on the origin of COVID-19, for not doing enough to block fake news and misinformation.