Former US President Donald Trump is suing Twitter, Facebook and Google for banning him from their platforms. He is calling for his accounts to be restored quickly, the 75-year-old said on Wednesday.
Trump should remain blocked from Facebook at least until the beginning of 2023; Twitter sees no way back for the ex-president. YouTube does not want to allow Trump again until it no longer sees a risk to public safety, but did not name a period for this. Trump sees this violated his right to freedom of speech guaranteed in the first amendment to the US Constitution.
According to his complaint (PDF), Trump had used Google’s video offer since May 2015, and since taking office in January 2017 he had used it as an instrument of his presidency; his videos have become an important source of news, which has also been widely discussed by users.
Pressure from democrats
But Democratic politicians saw the “skilful use” of social media as a threat to their own re-election efforts and therefore urged YouTube to censor, Trump said. He mentioned the Democratic majority leader Nancy Pelos and the former First Lady Michelle Obama to the US Federal District Court in Miami.
The Democrats would have used the so-called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, which exempts YouTube and other providers from liability. Trump had already tackled this section of the law during his presidency on the grounds that it was a “liability shield gift” from the USA to the large IT companies and a threat to national security and the elections. The Democrats had forced YouTube to censor it by threatening to revise Section 230. They are also said to have tried to put pressure on the CEOs of the largest social media companies by other means.
Trump gegen Section 230
Trump is requesting class action admission for everyone affected by the YouTube lock. For himself and for those who join the lawsuit, he demands damages in an undisclosed amount. If Trump’s account was restored, Youtube would also have to remove all warnings that the video platform had put up because of allegedly dubious content. In addition, the court should declare unconstitutional those parts of Section 230 of the CDA, according to which access providers are not liable for the content of others.
Ban since January
Facebook and Twitter had already blocked Trump in January this year shortly before the end of his term in office. The trigger was the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Trump – and that he expressed sympathy for the attackers. He also continues to claim, without any evidence, that his November presidential election victory was stolen by fraud.
Twitter, where more than 80 million users followed Trump, was until then the most important communication platform for him. Facebook had initially blocked Trump’s account until further notice. The independent supervisory body of the online network later complained that the Facebook rules did not provide for an indefinite ban. Therefore, Trump is now suspended on Facebook for two years, with the deadline running since the beginning of January this year. Then Facebook wants to re-weigh whether the ex-president still poses a threat.