Former President Donald Trump is suing Facebook to reinstate his accounts on Facebook and Instagram while another lawsuit he filed against the tech giant works its way through the courts.
Trump’s legal team filed the lawsuit on Thursday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, according to The Washington Examiner. The lawsuit petitions for the judge to issue a preliminary injunction against the social media platform to reinstate Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, which combined boast a following of about 59 million accounts.
“This preliminary injunction against Facebook seems appropriate to file this week since they’ve been big in the news lately for all the issues they’re facing,” Trump attorney John Coale told the Examiner.
“Zuckerberg and Facebook say it’s the 21st-century public town square; if so, they should uphold the First Amendment,” Coale said, referring to remarks the tech CEO made about his platform in 2019. “You can’t have it both ways. They’re like a public utility when it comes to speech.”
Trump’s newest lawsuit argues that by keeping his accounts banned, Facebook is damaging Republicans’ chances in upcoming elections. As the Examiner reported:
In the preliminary injunction, Trump’s legal team argued that by “cutting him off from the most effective and direct forms of communication with potential voters,” Facebook is “threatening irreparable damage to the Republican Party’s prospects in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”
It also says that Trump faces irreparable harm and significant losses due to being cut off from his donors and merchandising platforms as well as his ability to communicate his views and endorse local candidates.
In July, Trump announced a class action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, and Google, as well as each company’s CEO, over bans the tech giants had placed on his various social media accounts following the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
“We’re demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you know so well. Our case will prove this censorship is unlawful, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American,” Trump said in a July 7 press conference. “It will be a pivotal battle in the defense of the First Amendment. And in the end, I am confident that we will achieve a historic victory for American freedom, and at the same time freedom of speech.”
“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 added. “Once they got section 230, they’re not private companies anymore in a lot of views. No other companies in our country, and even in our country’s history, have had protection like this. It’s, in effect, a massive government subsidy. These companies have been co-opted, coerced, and weaponized by government and by government actors to become the [enforcers] of illegal, unconstitutional censorship. And that’s what it is at the highest level, censorship.”
Facebook’s ban on the president is still under review by the Facebook Oversight Board, an independent board created by the tech giant to oversee some of the company’s major decisions regarding certain users’ accounts. In May, the board ruled that Facebook’s ban of Trump was “not appropriate” without an intermediate warning or punishment and said that he should be let back on the platform eventually. The board gave the company six months to clarify its standards on bans before again reviewing the tech giant’s decision and policies.
Story cited here.