Former President Donald Trump has asked a federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to reinstate his account months after the platform banned him after blaming him for inciting the Capitol Building riot on Jan. 6.
The appeal comes after Trump filed suit against the companies Twitter, Facebook and Google, as well as their CEOs, in July alleging they unlawfully suppressed him as well as conservative points of view. Bloomberg News reported that attorneys for Trump filed an injunction against Twitter late Friday in Miami.
Trump claimed in his Miami case that Twitter banned him from the platform following the riot due to being pressured by his political critics in Congress. Twitter and the other social media platforms at the time claimed that Trump violated policies against glorifying violence.
According to his filing, the former president says that Twitter “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
Trump ripped Twitter earlier this year after he was banned, though he said he expected it to happen.
Trump releases statement on being banned by Twitter. Via pool: pic.twitter.com/p5Chj37hkx
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 9, 2021
“As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me,” he said in a statement issued through the White House at the time. “Twitter may be a private company, but without the government’s gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long.
“I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED!” he added.
In July, Trump noted that his lawsuits against the big tech giants were being supported by a group claiming they were also censored.
“It’s the latest escalation in Trump’s years-long battle with Twitter and Facebook over free speech and censorship. Trump is completely banned from Twitter and is banned from Facebook for another two years,” Axios reported at the time.
“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others,” Trump, as president, noted on Twitter in August 2018.
Earlier that year, a group of about 60 conservatives signed on to a joint statement appealing to the platforms to do more to ensure their views were not censored.
“Social media censorship and online restriction of conservatives and their organizations have reached a crisis level,” the group noted. “Conservative leaders now have banded together to call for equal treatment on tech and social media.”
“We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right,” the statement added. “Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary.”
As president, Trump directed the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to devise rules governing how the platforms could and could not censor content.
“Today I am directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans,” Trump said in July 2019. “We hope to see transparency, more accountability and more freedom.”
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