Former U.S. president Donald Trump — evidently still furious about getting kicked off social media platforms over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — is planning to file class-action lawsuits against the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter, according to a new Axios report.
The lawsuits against Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey will seek class-action status on behalf of other individuals who have been “censored by biased policies,” per the Axios report.
It’s unclear whether Trump’s legal ploy will find any traction. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, internet companies have legal protections for content shared on their services and allows them to moderate posts and user accounts as they see fit. Meanwhile, a report from NYU researchers earlier this year found that platforms like Twitter and Facebook are not systematically biased against conservatives or right-wing viewpoints in their content moderation practices.
The notoriously litigious Trump plans to announce the class-action lawsuits at a press conference at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, Axios reported. The lawsuits are being backed by the America First Policy Institute, a pro-Trump think tank led by Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins (who were officials in the ex-president’s administration), per the report.
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Trump, the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice, was broadly deplatformed by internet companies after he encouraged and expressed support for rioters storming the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The attack left five people dead.
On Jan. 7, Facebook indefinitely froze Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts with Zuckerberg citing the risk of ongoing violence if the then-president were allowed to remain on the services. Last month, Facebook said Trump’s accounts on its platforms will be suspended until at least January 2023 and will only be reinstated “if conditions permit.” Twitter banned Trump permanently on Jan. 8 for the same reasons, and other internet services have taken similar actions.
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