Former President Donald Trump has announced class-action lawsuits against tech giants Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube parent company Google, over their “unlawful” censorship of him and other conservatives, after the social media giants banned him from posting in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said during an appearance at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Wednesday morning.
“We will prove that this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American.”
The actions are being supported by the America First Policy Institute, headed by former Trump officials Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins, who introduced Trump at the announcement. Axios first reported AFPI’s involvement.
Trump is permanently banned from Twitter and will not be eligible to return to Facebook for two more years.
The lawsuits filed against Google/YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, seek compensatory and punitive damages to the plaintiff and the class in an amount to be determined at trial; an injunction and order for the sites to immediately reinstate the plaintiffs’ accounts; an order for the sites to remove warning labels and classifications from posts and to desist from further warnings. amd a judgment declaring Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 unconstitutional.
None of the three tech companies had any immediate comment in response to Trump’s announcement.
Trump has been battling for years with the sites over free speech and censorship, even before his ban.
By using a class-action lawsuit, Trump is filing on behalf of a broad group of people that claim they have been censored because of political bias.
“We ask the court to impose punitive damages on these social media giants,” said Trump. “We’re going to hold Big Tech very accountable. This is the first of numerous other lawsuits.”
Trump railed about what he called censorship of posts by him and others because of the coronavirus pandemic, including his posts about hydroxychloroquine and other treatments for COVID-19.
“Liberty is under increased threats and attacks by a lot of different sides,” Trump said. “We are the majority side … social media has given extraordinary power to a group of Big Tech giants that are working with government, the mainstream media, and a large segment of a political party to suppress the views of the American people and they’ve been very successful at that.”
He further said that “thousands of people” want to join the lawsuit and called it the largest lawsuit of its kind, before introducing people who have complained about being banned from social media platforms.
Twitter and Facebook say the bans were enacted for safety reasons following the attack on the Capitol. In May, Facebook’s independent Oversight Board backed the company’s decision to suspend his account.