WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is filing suits against three of the country’s biggest tech companies: Facebook, Twitter and Google, as well as their CEOs.
Trump said he was serving as lead plaintiff in the class-action suits, claiming he has been wrongfully censored by the companies.
“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 at a news conference at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course.
The suits were filed in U.S. District Court for Florida’s southern district.
Trump was suspended from Twitter and Facebook after his followers stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The companies cited concerns that he would incite further violence. Currently, he can no longer post on either platform.
Nonetheless, Trump has continued to spread lies about the 2020 election, baselessly claiming that he won, even though state and local election officials, his own attorney general and numerous judges, including some he appointed, have said there is no evidence of the mass voter fraud he alleges.
Under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the material that users post. The law, which provides a legal “safe harbor” for internet companies, also allows social media platforms to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, so long as they are acting in “good faith.”
But Trump and other politicians have long argued that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have abused that protection and should lose their immunity — or at least have to earn it by satisfying requirements set by the government.
Facebook, Google and Twitter all declined comment Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island contributed to this report.