Donald Trump, the former US president, held a press conference Wednesday to announce legal action against Facebook, Twitter and Google, accusing the tech giants of censoring conservative voices.
Trump was once an irrepressible force setting the agenda on social media, but, in the wake of the January 6 uprising, he was banned from Twitter and suspended on Facebook until at least 2023 due to the risk of inciting further violence.
“We are asking the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate end to the illegal and shameful censorship of the American people by social media companies,” Trump said on the fake presidential stage. with a blue lectern, white columns and a dozen American flags at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ.
“We demand the end of the shadow ban, the end of the silencing, the end of the blacklists, the banishment and the cancellation that you know so well. Our case will show that this censorship is illegal. It is unconstitutional and completely anti-American. We all know that. We know that very, very well, “he added.
Silicon Valley censorship complaints have become a familiar topic of conversation on the political right, but many of the most popular personalities on sites like Facebook are conservative, like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro.
Still, Trump said that, along with the new America First Policy Institute (AFPI) thinktank, was filing a class action lawsuit against big tech giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as their CEOs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey.
“In addition, we are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants,” he continued during remarks that zigzagged through various topics. “We are going to hold great technology to account. This is the first of many other lawsuits, I suppose, that would follow.
“But this is the advantage, and I think it will be a very, very important game changer for our country. It will be a pivotal battle in defending the First Amendment, and in the end, I am confident that we will achieve a historic victory for American freedom and, at the same time, freedom of speech. “
The lawsuit faces difficult difficulties. Under a law known as Section 230, Internet companies can generally moderate their content by removing posts that, for example, are obscene or violate proper service standards, as long as they act in “good faith.”
But Trump and other Republicans have long argued that Twitter, Facebook and others have abused that protection and should lose their immunity. Last year, Trump signed an executive order designed to limit Section 230 protections, but Joe Biden revoked it in May.
Skeptics also pointed out that, during his long career, Trump has frequently announced lawsuits only to see them quietly fade before reaching court.
On Wednesday he introduced several people who he said had been “illegally banned or silenced” and were joining the class action lawsuit. He suggested that there would be thousands more who would feel aggrieved at being censored. “This will be the largest class action ever filed,” was Trump’s crazy prediction.
“There is no better evidence that big technology is out of control than the fact that the acting president of the United States was banned earlier this year, a ban that continues to this day. Keep going. Still, we spread the word, but it is not a fair situation.
“Very, very bad for this country, very bad for the world. If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone and, in fact, that is exactly what they are doing. They take people who don’t even realize they have taken them. “
Pam Bondi, a lawyer and Trump ally at AFPI, said the lawsuit was on behalf of all Americans.
Trump answered some questions from reporters, including one about his role in the insurrection. He described it as an “unfortunate event” but said Congress had recently produced a report and “my name was not even mentioned,” even though it was.
He also complained that many of his followers had been treated unfairly.
Deprived of his social media spokesperson, Trump frequently issues statements by email and has recently resumed campaign rallies, using them to further his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman who voted for Trump’s impeachment after Jan.6, tweeted in response to Wednesday’s announcement: “Just a sad little man.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism