Major social networks have lately been fighting against what they say are violations of their terms of service (TOS) – affecting mostly those of conservative persuasion – by banning them. But now some of those on the receiving end of the push, known as “deplatforming,” are fighting back.
When US investigative reporter and activist Laura Loomer was suspended by Twitter last fall, she didn't receive a clear explanation. The suspension soon turned into a ban, disconnecting Loomer from her quarter of a million followers on the social media platform.
Loomer – who in the meantime learned why she was banned – has now filed a lawsuit against Twitter, and against the Council on American Islamic Relation (CAIR) – who are thought to have reported her tweets
According to Big League Politics, the tweet Twitter saw as controversial enough to warrant a ban concerns former US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and reads as follows:
“Ilhan is pro Sharia Ilhan is pro-FGM (forced genital mutilation). Under Sharia homosexuals are oppressed & killed. Women are abused & forced to wear the hijab. Ilhan is anti Jewish.”
But even after the ban, the journalist remained influential on Twitter – by means topping the trending list after protesting the company's move by handcuffing herself to the entrance to Twitter's New York City HQ.
In the lawsuit filed this week, Loomer and her company Illoominate Media sue Twitter and CAIR for conspiring to deprive her of making a living through breach of contract, damaging interference with a business relationship and violation of unfair trade practices act in Florida.
Big League Politics noted that the ban came last November, in the wake of US mid-term elections, when Loomer worked to “expose voter fraud” in that state.
In the filing, Loomer's legal representatives argue that her posts did not breach Twitter's TOS, and that the real goal was to prevent the reporter from expressing her position on controversial political topics, most notably “the role of radical Islam and its proponents American public life and policy” – and that this practice amounts to censorship that makes arbitrary and unconvincing use of the terms of service.
It further observes that other Twitter users – anonymous as well as public figures – in the past expressed similar views without facing bans on Twitter.
The lawsuit also mentions that Loomer has been denied access to a host of other services, among them Medium, PayPal, Uber, and GoFundMe.