Donald Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter has been dismissed by a federal judge. The lawsuit was filed in the aftermath of the former president’s acquittal in his impeachment trial over the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.
“In the ruling, U.S. District Judge James Donato rejected Trump’s argument that Twitter was operating as a ‘state actor’ when it suspended his account in January 2021, calling it not plausible,” The Washington Post reported. “Trump had claimed that Twitter was constrained by the First Amendment’s restrictions on government limitations of free speech because it had acted in cooperation with government officials.”
“The judge also dismissed Trump’s call for a declaratory judgment that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says Internet platforms generally are not responsible for what their users post, is unconstitutional,” the report noted.
“In addition to Trump, the lawsuit named several other plaintiffs who said Twitter suspended their accounts after tweets about vaccines and the 2020 election,” the report added. “Those cases also were dismissed.”
The president had his Twitter account “permanently” suspended for alleged concern about the “risk of further incitement of violence.” The permanent suspension was announced two days after the January 6 riot. But the grounds for Trump’s suspension rested on a narrow line of reasoning.
“We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Twitter claimed.
“As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so,” Twitter added.
Donald Trump was effectively exonerated in the January 6 investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been unable to find any central plot to overturn the results of the election or engage in a coup, let alone one masterminded by the former President of the United States.
“The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials,” Reuters earlier reported.
“Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations,” the report continued.
In addition, the judge’s claim that Twitter did not collude with government officials to infringe on users’ First Amendment rights is defied by evidence that is precisely what the company did with California officials.
Rogan O’Handley, a pro-Trump activist, brought a lawsuit against California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, represented by attorney Harmeet Dhillon’s legal nonprofit the Center for American Liberty. Twitter was shown to have banned O’Handley at the direction of California’s Office of Elections Cybersecurity.
Thus, the argument that it is “implausible” that Twitter was acting as a state actor when it banned Trump is demonstrably false.
Twitter is in the process of being taken over by billionaire tech CEO Elon Musk, who said last month that he was “very cautious with permanent bans” on Twitter and would prefer a timeout system.
Musk is now “expected to serve as a temporary CEO of Twitter for a few months after he completes his $44 billion takeover of the social media company,” according to CNBC’s David Faber.
Elon Musk, known for his cryptic tweets, also alluded to shaking up the leadership team, which has an established track record of political bias against conservatives. Thus, it may not matter what the court decides, the end result may be that it will be effectively mooted by future leadership intent on restoring free speech on the platform.
Donald Trump has stated that he intends to remain active on Truth Social.