Former President Donald Trump amended his lawsuits against major Big Tech platforms on Friday, adding stories of alleged censorship from about 65,000 Americans who submitted their cases.
The America First Policy Institute said that the suit, which was filed earlier this month, is including “additional censorship experiences” from tens of thousands of Americans who submitted their stories to the legal organization.
“Late last night, Amended Complaints were filed in the Big Tech lawsuits against Facebook, Inc., Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter, Inc., Jack Dorsey, Google LLC, and Sundar Pichai,” the legal group said in an announcement on its website Wednesday.
“Since the initial filing on July 7, 2021, nearly 65,000 American people have submitted their stories of censorship through America First Policy Institute’s (AFPI) Constitutional Litigation Partnership (CLP) at TakeOnBigTech.com,” it added.
“The Amended Complaints include additional censorship experiences and incorporates additional class representatives, including Dr. Naomi Wolf and Wayne Allyn Root — individuals on opposite ends of the political spectrum who highlight the bipartisan need to protect the thoughts and voices of all Americans, regardless of political affiliation,” the statement continued.
Wolf is a known liberal activist while Root is a libertarian-conservative columnist and businessman.
The former president’s class-action lawsuit claims that social media platforms violated his First Amendment rights after suspending his accounts or, in the case of Twitter, banning him for life.
Trump says the platforms have become “state actors” through alleged collaboration with the federal government on what constitutes “misinformation” and is thus subject to censorship.
“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,” Trump said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
“One of the gravest threats to our democracy today is a powerful group of Big Tech corporations that have teamed up with government to censor the free speech of the American people. This is not only wrong—it is unconstitutional,” Trump wrote in an explainer earlier this month.
“To restore free speech for myself and for every American, I am suing Big Tech to stop,” he added.
“In recent years, we have all watched Congress haul Big Tech CEOs before their committees and demand that they censor ‘false’ stories and ‘disinformation’—labels determined by an army of partisan fact-checkers loyal to the Democrat Party,” the former president alleged.
“Further, Big Tech and government agencies are actively coordinating to remove content from the platforms according to the guidance of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” he continued.
The suit also seeks to end Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects social media platforms from liability lawsuits over content posted by their users that can similarly be filed against traditional media outlets.
Critics have dismissed Trump’s suit out of hand, saying it has little-to-no chance of success.
“There’s no way a plaintiff has been able to get traction in the past, and there’s no way that Trump is going to be able to get traction either,” Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School in California, told the Washington Post July 8.
But in fact, Trump may have an argument when he said that the companies are “working directly with government actors to censor free speech” after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a recent press briefing that the federal government was collaborating with social media companies to “flag misinformation” regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would say first, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we’re in regular touch with social media platforms — just like we’re in regular touch with all of you and your media outlets — about areas where we have concern, information that might be useful, information that may or may not be interesting to your viewers,” Psaki told reporters July 16.
“You all make decisions, just like the social media platforms make decisions, even though they’re a private-sector company and different, but just as an example,” she added, without regarding the distinction made by Section 230 between actual publishers and social media platforms.
Psaki also said that anyone promoting “misinformation” should be banned from all major social media platforms.
“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others if you — for providing misinformation out there,” she said.
Syndicated with permission from USA Features News.