Former President Trump on Wednesday announced a class-action lawsuit against billionaires Mark Zuckerberg, the chief of Facebook; Jack Dorsey, head of Twitter, and Sundar Pichai, CEO for Google, and their companies on behalf of “cancel culture” victims.
The case is being handled by the America First Policy Institute, which explained the case seeks an end to “shadow banning” and “blacklisting” by the companies.
Trump, in making the announcement, said he does not expect a “settlement.”
“We’re going to hold Big Tech very accountable,” he explained. “We are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social-media giants.”
Social-media companies in the past few years have moved aggressively against conservative voices, commentators, news organizations and more.
They have used their position as near-monopolies to control and eliminate voices with which they disagree, and they claim the right to do so as private companies, exempt from the First Amendment.
However, Trump explained, they’ve been doing so in concert with Democrats in the government across the United States, which would mean they are acting on behalf of the government, which could subject their actions to the First Amendment.
“Congress has repeatedly told big tech, that if they do not silence Democrats’ political opponents, ban prominent conservative voices – I wonder who that would be – and restrict what the left ominously labels as disinformation … and they are the greatest disinformation group of people, ever, ever in the world …” Trump explained.
The action is to sue Zuckerberg, Dorsey, and Pichai on behalf of a group allegedly silenced because of its politics.
An official with the institute, Linda McMahon, noted, “There’s no topic on which they, the elites, the big firms the progressives the officeholders and the bureaucrats… there’s no other topic that they are seeing as a bigger obstacle to achieve their ambitions, than the First Amendment.”
Trump was banned by social media while still president based on social-media claims that he was responsible for violence Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, despite the evidence that he asked his supporters to protest Congress’ actions “peacefully.”
The Daily Mail has documented that in May, “Facebook’s independent Oversight Board, which is sometimes known as its ‘Supreme Court’ reaffirmed that Trump would be banned for two years.”
However, that conclusion found there were issues with the system.
The institute explained, “Protected by an outdated and misinterpreted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, these elites and their firms ride roughshod over some of the most fundamental American rights: the right to speak, the right to be heard, and the right to democratic representation. This lawsuit is not the end of that fight: it is a beginning. It’s a fight AFPI is committed to seeing through. AFPI will continue to support everyday Americans’ efforts to hold Big Tech accountable.”
Brooke L. Rollins, president of AFPI, said, “There’s not much precedent for an American president taking major-media corporations to court — nor is there much precedent for an American president engaging the judiciary to shape the landscape of American freedoms after his presidency.”
Rollins continued, “President Trump often remarked that if Big Tech is out to get him, it’s because they’re out to get the American people — and he was just standing in the way. The actions of the Big Tech firms we’re taking to court illustrate the point perfectly. What they’ve done, what they’ve wrought in the past few years staggers the imagination.”
Pam Bondi, chairman of the constitutional litigation partnership at AFPI, said, “Things have changed over the past several years, and the First Amendment rights of all Americans are on the line in this case. The law and Constitution are on our side. America is the great country that it is because our Constitution protects our freedoms, including freedom from censorship – this lawsuit ensures that those rights are properly defended.”
“I stand before you this morning to announce a very important… development for our freedom and freedom of speech,” Trump said. “In conjunction with the America First Policy Institute, I’m filing as the lead class action representative a major class action lawsuit against the big tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as their CEOs.”
Trump said, “There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting president of the United States earlier this year. If they can do it to me they can do it to anyone.”
The companies charged that Trump’s claims that the presidential election was stolen were “false” but audits are continuing in several states and lawsuits remain over the results, which follow irregular activities on the part of election officials in several swing states.
One issue that is not in dispute is that state officials arbitrarily changed state laws regarding ballots – in violation of the U.S. Constitution – to accommodate Joe Biden’s mail-in ballot fans.
Trump said that the lawsuit is being brought in the Southern District of Florida, seeking “injunctive relief” against “shameful censorship of the American people.”
“While the social-media companies are officially private entities, in recent years they have ceased to be private with the enactment and their historical use of Section 230, which profoundly protects them from liability,” Trump said. “It is in effect a massive government subsidy, these companies have been co-opted, coerced and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship.”
Trump described the social media companies “the de-facto censorship arm of the U.S. government.”