Having been expelled from major social networks since the criminal attack on Capitol Hill, former US President Donald Trump on Wednesday filed mass complaints against Facebook, Twitter, Google and their bosses, accusing them of responsibility for “illegal and unconstitutional censorship.”
“We are engaged in a battle we are going to win” to defend free speech, the Republican promised at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
But the odds of this complaint succeeding are slim, according to legal experts.
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“Social networks have given extraordinary power to a group of big tech giants who work with the authorities, the mainstream media and much of a political party to silence and remove the opinions of Americans,” the 45th president of the United States accused the countries flirting with her new candidacy in 2024.
In front of an audience of guests, the billionaire explained that he, along with an organization that promotes its policies to defend “America First,” the American First Policy Institute, “has submitted a major collective legal action against tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter, such as plus their bosses Mark Zuckerberg.” and Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey.”
He said that these three presidents “implement illegal censorship.” “There is no better evidence that Big Tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the then President of the United States” from using their platforms.
With the lawsuit filed alongside an organization that promotes “America First” policies, the American Policy Institute First, Mr Trump said he hoped the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida “will order an immediate end to the shameful and illegal censorship of a portion of social networks.”
‘I’m convinced Trump will lose’
In June, Facebook suspended Donald Trump for two years.
The Republican had already been removed from the podium, temporarily, on January 7 when he was still president because he had encouraged his supporters during the attack on the Capitol in Washington the day before, an unprecedented decision.
And the social network Twitter had also toppled him after the fatal attack on the Capitol building during the ratification ceremony for the victory of his rival, Joe Biden, on January 6.
Before his ban, Donald Trump had nearly 89 million followers on Twitter — where he announced several major presidential decisions and resounding impeachments — as well as 35 million on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram.
On these platforms, he also downplayed the severity of the epidemic and condemned the so-called electoral fraud, which has never appeared in court.
The former president said on Wednesday that “Google and YouTube have deleted countless videos that have dared question the judgment of the World Health Organization” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The real estate mogul has been the source of many lawsuits during his career, but these lawsuits have rarely been successful. However, on Wednesday, he said he wanted to move forward with the matter.
But Eric Goldman, a law professor specializing in high technology at Santa Clara University, is “convinced that Trump will lose.”
He told AFP that the “First Amendment” to the US Constitution, which defends freedom of expression, “restricts only public actors and not private organizations.”
For Matt Schroers, head of the tech giant CCIA lobby, “frivolous collective actions will not change the fact that users, even US presidents, must abide by the rules they have accepted.”
“This complaint is a publicity stunt and is unlikely to go to court,” added Jamil Jafar, head of a center specialized in advocating freedom of expression at Columbia University’s Knight First Adamant Institute.
But he added that it was “important” to discuss “the kind of obligations that the First Amendment could place on private actors that have a significant impact on public discourse” as on social media.
If it is American conservatives who are particularly protesting the removal of Donald Trump from social networks, then Democrats also have the tech giants in their sights.
At the end of June, a parliamentary committee approved a series of bills, backed by Democrats and Republicans, targeting Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, potentially paving the way for dismantling.
They have a chance of getting it approved in the House of Representatives but their fate remains uncertain in the Senate.