Twitter is suing the attorney general of Texas for investigating the social-media company, claiming its censorship of conservatives is protected by the First Amendment.
Twitter permanently banned the account of President Trump and other conservative voices after the riot at the U.S. Capitol in January.
Paxton then announced an investigation into Twitter and four other Big Tech companies for what he called “the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President.”
Fox Business reported Twitter is claiming that Paxton is retaliating against the company for banning Trump’s account.
Paxton is seeking a variety of information from the companies such as their content moderation policies and internal communications.
Twitter wants a judge to declare that the decision to ban Trump is protected by the First Amendment and essentially shut down the Texas review.
“Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees,” Twitter said in its complaint.
Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon are private companies, and the First Amendment applies to government operations.
Bloomberg reported Twitter is resisting investigators’ demands for “highly confidential documents”
The Texas Tribune noted Twitter is seeking a temporary restraining order that would halt Paxton’s investigation in its tracks.
Paxton led a lawsuit that challenged the 2020 election results in six states based on evidence of fraud and irregularities. Attorneys general from 17 other states joined in the case, which was rejected by the Supreme Court. The high court concluded fraud in an election in one state would not impact the results of the election in another state.
Kyle Becker noted on his news site that Twitter is arguing that Paxton was retaliating “against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees.”
He said that creates a potential problem, since Twitter “thus admits that it is editorializing with its decisions to ban Republicans and conservatives from its platform.”
“This is a direct conflict with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields Twitter from lawsuits over the content on its social media platform,” he argues.
That federal law states, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do.”