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Federal Judge Rules Against Trump In Twitter Lawsuit

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Donald Trump

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by former President Donald Trump against Twitter over its decision to permanently ban him from the social media platform for inciting the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Last year, Trump filed separate cases against Twitter, Facebook and Google’s YouTube service for eliminating his ability to use their sites to promote violence and spread his false claims about election fraud. In his lawsuits, Trump alleges that the social media companies were essentially “acting as government agents when they banned his speech and that doing so violated the First Amendment, which applies only to government action, not that of private companies or individuals,” Politico reports.

But U.S. District Court Judge James Donato rejected the argument that Twitter was acting on behalf of the federal government when it shut down Trump’s account.

“Plaintiffs offer only ambiguous and open-ended statements to the effect that ‘we may legislate’ something unfavorable to Twitter or the social media sector,” wrote Donato. “There is no way to allege with any degree of plausibility when, if ever, the comments voiced by a handful of members of Congress might become a law, or what changes such a law might impose on social media companies like Twitter. … Much of what plaintiffs challenge fits within the normal boundaries of a congressional investigation, as opposed to threats of punitive state action.”

Donato’s 17-page decision also rejected arguments from Trump attorneys that a controversial 1996 law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act led to Trump’s banning in January of last year. That law allows internet sites to police message boards and other user postings without incurring potential liability as a publisher of the content.

“The government cannot plausibly be said to have compelled Twitter’s action through Section 230, which in any event imposed no affirmative obligations on Twitter to act in any particular way,” the judge wrote, according to Politico.

Read more over at Politico.