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WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Donald Trump said that he was suing the top executives of Facebook and Twitter for preventing him from using social media.
Despite his threats, legal experts believe Trump’s prospects of winning in court are limited at best; Facebook and Twitter are privately held businesses with the authority to regulate their services.
In a press conference held from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump claimed his “class-action” complaint, which was filed in South Florida, targets Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, among others.
“We’re going to hold Big Tech very responsible,” Trump said emphatically.
In response to the Capitol riots, Facebook has suspended Donald Trump for two years for “serious violations.”
Trump claimed those businesses of infringing on their customers’ First Amendment free speech rights by “censoring” him and others, “blacklisting” and “cancelling” individuals for political purposes, among other things. The man said that “if they can do it to me, they can do it to anybody.”
Although the First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no legislation abridging the freedom of expression,” it only applies to government institutions, not private domains, and thus does not apply to private domains.
Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, shared his thoughts on Twitter “The very first word of the First Amendment is ‘Congress’ (as in’shall make no law…’), which is a reference to the United States Congress. In other words, the First Amendment only applies to governmental actors and not to private businesses.”
Trump-inspired Florida legislation clamping down on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is blocked by a judge; Governor DeSantis pledges to fight.
Following the Jan. 6 uprising at the United States Capitol, Facebook and Twitter banned Trump from their platforms, claiming that his bogus claims about election fraud threatened to incite more violence among his followers.
A representative for Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on Trump’s potential lawsuit. Twitter did not reply to a request for comment.
The suspensions of Trump’s accounts on Twitter and Facebook have made it more difficult for him to communicate his views.
Trump started speaking out on a new website in recent months, but the site was taken down after just a month of operation. Now, aides have created a new social media platform for him and his fans, which they have dubbed “Gettr.”
President Trump’s social media accounts have been suspended by the major three social media sites because his tweets amid rioting at the United States Capitol breached their rules.
At the beginning of June, the Facebook Oversight Board decided to uphold Trump’s ban, which also included his Instagram account.
A number of less well-known individuals have sued Facebook and Twitter, but their cases have been unsuccessful.
According to Bradley P. Moss, a Washington-based attorney, Trump “just wants a public relations and fundraising opportunity, not a genuine case.”
Among the many implications, according to him, is that legal discovery exposes Trump to inquiries regarding his activities, including those taken before to the January 6 uprising by his followers.
In addition, Moss predicted that “he will very probably lose.”
In his words, “It’s been tried before and it’s failed every time.”