The Washington Post reports:
Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday filed class-action lawsuits targeting Facebook, Google and Twitter and their CEOs, escalating his long-running battle with the companies following their suspensions of his accounts.
The suits were filed in the Southern District of Florida, and Trump said at a news conference in Bedminster, N.J., that they would call for the court to issue an order blocking the companies’ alleged censorship of the American people.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadowbanning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing and canceling that you know so well,” Trump said.The suits allege that the companies violated Trump’s First Amendment rights in suspending his accounts and argues that Facebook, in particular, no longer should be considered a private company but “a state actor” whose actions are constrained by First Amendment restrictions on government limitations on free speech. Traditionally, the First Amendment is thought to constrain only government actions, not those of private companies.
It also called for the court to strike down Section 230, a decades-old Internet law that protects tech companies from lawsuits over content moderation decisions.
As any first year law student knows, the First Amendment only applies to government action. It doesn't, apply to non-government, such as businesses. If I go into a Chicago Cubs bar and I talk about how great the Cincinnati Reds team is, the owner can kick me out. The First Amendment does not protect me.
From news reports, it appears the lawsuit is claiming that Section 230 somehow converts private companies into government actors for which the First Amendment would apply. Trump's position urging repeal of Section 230 never made any sense. If Section 230 is done away with, social media companies would no longer be shielded from libel lawsuits and would be inclined to engage in even more of the legal censorship Trump complains of.
While Trump is quite litigious, his lawsuits are usually about something other than seeking redress in court. I doubt Trump thinks he can win the social media lawsuit. Most likely Trump is using it as a way to raise money, i.e. yet another way to fleece his flock of extremely gullible supporters.
OOP's short takes:
- Over 99% of the people who are now getting Covid-19 are unvaccinated. If these folks were just hurting themselves, I would not have a problem with that. The problem is if not enough people are vaccinated, the virus lives on, mutates, and becomes a more deadly variant that can get around the vaccines. That's already happening with the Delta variant of Covid.
- The time is long past for government agencies and private employers to require their employees to get vaccinated. Likewise, universities and colleges should require students get vaccinated. There is no "right" to endanger the public health by not getting vaccinated. It's not a "conservative" position to oppose vaccinations.
- Marjorie Taylor Green yesterday compared the Biden vaccine push to Nazi brown shirts, a paramilitary group that aided Hitler's rise to power. Trump in 2018 praised Hitler for having done "a lot of good things." Hmmm, there seems to be a theme here.
- Meanwhile, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) faces an election truther primary opponent who is attacking him for not supporting Trump's Big Lie and instead doing his constitutional duty to vote to certify the electoral college results. That wouldn't be such a big deal except that the new Oklahoma State Republican Chairman is supporting Lankford's opponent. Ironically, Lankford is one of the most conservative Senators and has also been one of the biggest supporters of Trump's agenda. In Trump World, no good deed goes unpunished.