A federal district court in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit filed by former President Donald Trump seeking to lift his Twitter ban.
On January 8, 2021, Twitter permanently banned Trump following the Jan 6 riot at the US Capitol. The platform said his continuing to use the platform risked further incitement of violence.
Trump, five other individuals, and the American Conservative Union sued Twitter and its then-CEO Jack Dorsey for getting booted from the platform. The suit claimed that Twitter violated free speech rights, further arguing that Twitter was pressured to ban them by the Democrats.
We obtained a copy of the dismissal for you here.
The court dismissed the First Amendment violation argument because Twitter is a private company. The First Amendment “applies only to governmental abridgments of speech, and not to alleged abridgments by private companies.”
The court also rejected the argument that Twitter acted on behalf of the government to ban the accounts.
The court also dismissed the lawsuit’s demand to deem the Communications Decency Act unconstitutional. Section 230 of the act protects online platforms from liability for content posted by users. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs had to prove that they would not have been banned were it not for the CDA.
The court also dismissed a claim that Twitter violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices. Twitter’s terms of service say that disputes are to be solved using California law, where it is headquartered. The lawsuit was first filed in Florida but was transferred to California at Twitter’s request.
The court also dismissed another argument made under Florida’s Stop Social Media Censorship Act. The law prohibits social media companies from censoring legal speech. The court noted that only one plaintiff was an active Twitter user when the law took effect on July 1, 2021. Besides, the law was suspended by a federal court a day before it took effect.