Donald Trump’s Lawyers Demand Twitter Reinstate His Account
Former President Donald Trump was suspended indefinitely from Twitter on January 8th for spreading his Big Lie about the 2020 election and for expressing solidarity with the insurrectionists who stormed the United States Capitol two days earlier on January 6th. Since then, the social media giant has ignored Trump’s legal complaints and grumblings about the ban and has refused to reinstate his account because it violated the site’s terms of service on multiple occasions and significantly increased “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
But on Friday, attorneys for the 45th commander in chief asked a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida for a preliminary injunction and to order Twitter to re-activate Trump’s access to the platform.
“Plaintiff Donald J. Trump respectfully moves for a preliminary injunction directing, inter alia, Defendant Twitter, Inc. and all persons acting in concert with Defendant, to reinstate Plaintiff’s access to Defendant’s social media platform(s),” they said, according to court documents that were obtained by several major media outlets.
Trump’s lawyers argued that his First Amendment right to free speech was violated and that the suspension constituted a breach of Florida’s social media law, which The Verge explained on Saturday, “prohibits social media companies from ‘knowingly’ deplatforming politicians, and requires the platforms to apply ‘censorship, deplatforming, and shadow banning standards in a consistent manner.'”
Twitter has undoubtedly executed these policies imperfectly, however, the obvious problems with Trump’s case are two-fold. First, Twitter is a private corporation that has the right to allow or reject whatever content that it deems either acceptable or harmful. Second, Trump is no longer an elected government employee. He is a private citizen who is parading around pretending to still be the president.
Team Trump also claimed that Twitter was “coerced by members of the United States Congress” – specifically, the Democrats – and that it “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
The filings add that due to Trump’s unmatched collection of 88 million followers and reliably frequent posts, Twitter “became an important source of news and information about government affairs and was [essentially] a digital town hall.”
Twitter was not the only digital community to give Trump the boot. The communication conduit’s ban of Trump was “an action repeated by other social media companies including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitch” that “has drawn critical attention to the power wielded by a handful of tech companies and to their ability to shape national debate,” The Washington Post noted on Saturday.