Former US president Trump asked a federal judge of Florida to force Twitter to restore his account, which was suspended in January due to the risk of incitement of violence.
According to The Washington Post, the lawsuit on Friday claims that Twitter is “censoring” Trump, it has too much power over political speech in the U.S. and was “coerced” into the ban by Trump’s congressional opponents.
After a mob of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol in a violent riot on Jan. 6, Twitter and numerous other social media firms banned Trump from using their services. Twitter said the ban was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
According to the Post, his account had 88 million followers before the ban, and his reach has been drastically diminished since then.
Twitter was not alone in its condemnation of Trump. After the Capitol riots, Facebook and Google-owned YouTube also banned him from their platforms, citing concerns about the instigation of real-world violence. The former president filed a lawsuit against those companies, as well as Twitter, alleging censorship and First Amendment breaches. Trump has long maintained, without evidence, that the corporations discriminate against the right, an accusation that the companies have frequently denied.
“Are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? We are not. Period,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said in the past. “We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior.”
Courts all around the country have frequently dismissed lawsuits alleging censorship and claiming that social media companies violate the First Amendment when they remove posts or prohibit users. The First Amendment only applies to the government, not to private corporations such as social media platforms.
Twitter and Trump’s lead lawyer on the issue both declined to comment on Trump’s Friday legal filing.