Only 6 months after the storming of the United States Capitol in Washington and having his social media accounts suspended, former US resident Trump is suing Google, Twitter and Facebook, and their respective CEOs for allegedly censoring him.
Twitter Account Permanently Suspended
Trump’s presidency was characterised by his choice to constantly use Twitter as a means to bypass the mainstream media, who he often accused of spreading ‘fake news’. On January 8, Trump fell out of love with Twitter, and lost his chosen platform after Twitter imposed a permanent suspension of his account following 2 Tweets that, in the context of US events of the time, were found to be in violation of Twitter’s Glorification of Violence Policy. The tweets were:
“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
and shortly after: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Trump was also suspended from all Facebook platforms following the 6 January US Capitol riot, and then his Facebook account was suspended until 7 January 2023, a period that could be extended if Facebook still believes there is a risk to public safety through reinstatement.
Google and Alphabet Inc’s CEO Pichai Sundararajan (Sundar Pichai) fell out of favour with Donald Trump and now faces a lawsuit because Google’s YouTube video sharing platform indefinitely banned Trump back in in January.
Announced at News Conference
The news that Donald Trump had launched a class-action lawsuit against the 3 social media companies and their CEOs came at a news conference held at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey last Wednesday. On the same day, Mr Trump’s Republican allies in Congress announced their intention to “take on Big Tech” and get rid of the Section 230 law that protects social media companies from being liable for the things that users post. Following the news conference, which was also attended by those with links to not-for-profit America First Policy Institute, messages appealing for money were sent out, with one reportedly including a link to the fundraising entity ‘Save America’, which also raises money for other Republican political initiatives.
News of the lawsuits has prompted criticism from a variety of legal commentators, some of whom have dismissed any chances of success for the actions, highlighted how Trump appears to have a habit of instigating litigation, and suggested that the lawsuits may be more of a PR exercise.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The views expressed in the press appear to indicate that the lawsuits have little chance of success and are, therefore, unlikely to trouble the CEOs of the 3 named big tech companies. It is well-known that Trump, his supporters, and other Republicans appear to believe that Silicon Valley is somehow working behind the scenes to censor and silence conservative and far-right messages.
Trump himself though is facing a number of criminal and civil lawsuits and investigations and just days ago, the Arizona Secretary of State called for a criminal investigation into alleged efforts by Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and others to put pressure on Maricopa County supervisors following Trump losing Arizona in the presidential election. Also, the Trump Organisation and its finance chief have just been charged with tax-related crimes, which Mr Trump has, of course, dismissed as a “political witch hunt”. It seems, therefore, that with all the trouble that Mr Trump appears to be facing, and with limited hope of success in his latest lawsuits against the tech giants, that not much will come of this, apart from some more publicity for Mr Trump, which may please some of his supporters.