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Experts say Trump’s social media lawsuits are likely doomed

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Legal experts and First Amendment scholars say former President Donald Trump’s class-action lawsuits announced Wednesday against Facebook, Twitter, Google, and their CEOs are unlikely to go far.

The big picture: That, according to some of these experts, suggests Trump’s chief aim is to fire up his supporters and fundraise off of their anger over what they see as censorship by Big Tech.


“This is not a lawsuit. It’s a fundraising grift,” said Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future, a progressive advocacy group that often targets Big Tech.

  • “There is no chance Trump’s lawsuits will do any better than the dozens that have preceded it, and Trump and his lawyers surely know that,” said Eric Goldman, associate dean and professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.
  • “Which raises the obvious question: if Trump doesn’t care if he wins in court, why did he bring the lawsuits at all?”

The Trump campaign did immediately start reaching out to supporters for fundraising after the former president revealed the lawsuits in a press conference Wednesday morning.

  • Trump’s joint fundraising committee sent out a text saying, “Pres Trump: I am SUING Facebook & Twitter for UNCONSTITUTIONAL CENSORSHIP,” adding “5X-IMPACT on all gifts!”

Details: The central argument made by the plaintiff is that social media platforms are “state actors,” and thus should be bound by the First Amendment’s free speech protections. First Amendment experts quickly dismissed the claim as destined to fail.

  • “The First Amendment simply protects citizens from government censorship,” said Syracuse University associate professor Roy Gutterman. “Social media platforms exercise great power, but they are not a branch of government.”

“In what constitutional universe can it be the case that Trump wasn’t a state actor when he blocked critics from his social media accounts but the social media companies were state actors when they blocked him?,” tweeted Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

  • The Knight First Amendment Institute in 2017 filed a lawsuit on behalf of several people who were blocked by Trump on Twitter. A lower court sided with the plaintiff and argued that that Trump’s Twitter account constituted” as a “public forum” under the First Amendment, so he couldn’t block people.

Trump’s suits also suggest that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that gives tech platforms immunity for material third-party users post or say on their sites, is unconstitutional. Experts say the reference to Section 230 is irrelevant to the case.

  • “Section 230 can never be a defense to Trump’s allegations of First Amendment violations,”said Goldman. “Section 230 is a statute, which cannot modify the Constitution (amending the Constitution requires a more elaborate set of procedures; Congress can’t do it alone).”
  • “So the defendants in Trump’s cases will not assert Section 230 defenses. They will instead argue that they are not state actors  The courts will agree that the services aren’t state actors. This is not a close call.”

The big picture: As Axios has previously noted, the former president has filed many lawsuits throughout his career, but he has rarely taken cases all the way to court, and hasn’t won many of the cases that he has.

  • In fact, some of his lawsuits have actually led to historic legal precedents set by courts that create stronger First Amendment protections long-term.

The bottom line: “This is not the first time social media companies have been faced with these arguments, and in the past, they have won,” said Gutterman.

Source: https://www.axios.com/trump-social-media-lawsuits-doomed-experts-a9a021c7-fa78-47f3-9732-b99309c464ca.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sara Fischer

Florida law prohibiting social media from banning politicians faces legal challenge

Florida passed a bill prohibiting social networks (e.g. Twitter) from suspending the accounts of politicians (e.g. Trump and his cronies), unless the social network also operates a theme park (i.e. Disney). The absurd law, complete with its comically servile exemption for the local corporate giant, will receive an immediate legal challenge. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/05/28/florida-law-prohibiting-social-media-from-banning-politicians-faces-legal-challenge.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=florida-law-prohibiting-social-media-from-banning-politicians-faces-legal-challenge
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rob Beschizza

Warren: Trump is ‘a danger to democracy’

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a critic of Facebook and other tech giants, on Thursday called Donald Trump “a danger to democracy” and applauded a decision by Facebook’s Oversight Board to uphold the company’s ban on th…

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/552120-warren-trump-is-a-danger-to-democracy
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Alexander Bolton

MyPillow CEO’s new social media site fails to launch on time with no explanation given

Conservatives who were excited to be among the first to participate on Mike “MyPillow” Lindell’s social media platform, Frank, expressed their disappointment when it failed to go live on the appointed hour.

From Newsweek:

As the hours passed and Thursday turned to Friday morning, some Telegram followers of Lindell’s verified Telegram channel were left puzzled.

Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/04/16/mypillow-ceos-new-social-media-site-fails-to-launch-on-time-with-no-explanation-given.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mypillow-ceos-new-social-media-site-fails-to-launch-on-time-with-no-explanation-given
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mark Frauenfelder

Law Firm Accused of ‘Aiding’ Trump’s Election Disputes Gets Data Stolen By Hackers

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A ransomware gang claims to have stolen over 100 gigabytes of data from Jones Day, a prominent global law firm that recently stirred backlash for its entanglement in the 2020 presidential election.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/law-firm-accused-of-aiding-trumps-election-disputes-get-1846284511
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Lucas Ropek

‘Trump War Room’ Twitter account goes on the attack as impeachment trial kicks off

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As President Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trail commenced on Tuesday, the Twitter account that formerly belonged to his reelection campaign’s rapid response team posted commentary on the proceedings and criticism of congressional Democrats.

One tweet from the “Trump War Room” account issued on Tuesday afternoon targeted Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is presiding over Trump’s trial in his capacity as president pro tempore of the Senate.

“Imagine having a ‘trial’ where the ‘judge’ had already voted to convict the defendant?” the tweet read. “That’s what happens in banana republics, third world dictatorships and now the United States Senate. SAD!”

The “Trump War Room” account is one of the last remaining Twitter accounts affiliated with Trump and his aides that is accessible on the platform.

Twitter permanently suspended the former president’s personal account last month, as well as the @TeamTrump account used by his campaign.

Source: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/09/trump-war-room-twitter-impeachment-467955
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Quint Forgey

Ocasio-Cortez: Facebook, Zuckerberg ‘bear partial responsibility’ for insurrection

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Friday condemned Facebook as well as co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for misinformation posted on the platform, arguing that both Zuckerberg and his company “bear partial…

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/534585-ocasio-cortez-facebook-zuckerberg-partially-responsible-for-insurrection
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Celine Castronuovo

Jack Dorsey breaks his silence after Trump ban

50026d60-b9e0-11e9-beff-985d9d456e24Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made his first public statements since the company permanently banned Donald Trump from its platform. In a series of tweets, Dorsey said he believed Twitter made the correct decision, but that “a ban is a failure of ours ultim…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/twitter-jack-dorsey-donald-trump-ban-005318790.html
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