But Republicans and Trump himself have maintained that these companies are unfairly censoring conservatives, pointing to international dictators who still can post on Twitter.
Trump said the lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of Florida, seeking “injunctive relief” against “shameful censorship of the American people.” There were three separate complaints filed in Miami federal court under Trump’s name Wednesday, one against each of the social media giants.
“While the social media companies are officially private entities, in recent years they have ceased to be private with the enactment and their historical use of Section 230, which profoundly protects them from liability,” Trump said. “It is in effect a massive government subsidy, these companies have been co-opted, coerced, and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship.”
Trump called social media companies “the de facto censorship arm of the U.S. government.”
He added that “this was especially clear during the pandemic,” citing policies against contradicting health experts and the fact that those companies suppressed information alleging that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Shoshana Weissmann of the libertarian R Street Institute, which supports a robust reading of Section 230 to provide broad protections to tech companies, pushed back on Trump’s comments. Weissmann said the idea that tech companies “benefiting from a law prevents them from being private is asinine.”
“Government cannot wave a wand and say ‘you’re public now,’” she added. “The idea that this is a subsidy is also nowhere near the truth… And finally, government pressuring companies or companies taking cues from government entities also does not magically turn them into government actors.”
“This is a full misunderstanding of how the law works,” Weissmann said.
Trump’s lawsuit is going to be led by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit run by several allies and alumni from the Trump administration. AFPI President and CEO Brooke Rollins introduced Trump before the remarks Wednesday.
“It’s no surprise then that they want the First Amendment gone,” Rollins said of “progressives” and “elites.”
“They don’t advocate for abolition… but they do advocate for curtailing it into meaninglessness. Nowhere is that more evident than in the suppression of First Amendment rights online,” she continued.
AFPI’s Pam Bondi, meanwhile, said the lawsuit isn’t just for conservatives who believe they’ve been wronged, but also to protect others.
“This isn’t just for conservatives, this is for our media… this is for Democrats and even progressives whose speech should be protected under the First Amendment,” she said. “Do you remember that Tulsi Gabbard was censored when she was running for president?”
source: News Agencies