Former US president Donald Trump has filed lawsuits accusing three California-based tech giants of illegally censoring him.
On Wednesday, Trump filed proposed class-action lawsuits in the US District Court in Miami against Twitter, Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google (parent of YouTube) and their CEOs.
In the suits, Trump alleges that the social media platforms violated the right to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and he calls for a court order to end the alleged censorship.
The 45th president’s access to the platforms was restricted after protestors forced their way into the Capitol building on January 6.
Trump was among the tens of thousands of Twitter users whose accounts were permanently suspended after the unprecedented event. The company accused Trump of glorifying violence.
Facebook banned the once beloved reality TV star from its platform for a period of two years, while YouTube said in March that it is considering reinstating Trump’s suspended account.
Commenting on tech companies’ banning the former leader of the free world from social media, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said that big tech was “one of the threats to democracy” and that “the regulation of digital giants cannot be done by the digital oligarchy itself.”
Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, reflected that a world in which Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolas Maduro is on social media, but Trump is suspended “cannot be normal.”
While filing the suits on Wednesday, Trump called the legal action “a very beautiful development for our freedom of speech.”
He said that he was requesting a court in Florida “to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people.”
In 2020, Trump signed an executive order on how Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech should be applied to modern communications technology. In it, he described social media platforms as the “21st century equivalent of the public square” and accused them of “engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.”
World leaders with active social media accounts include Russian president Vladimir Putin, who banned same-sex marriage, and Iran’s leader, the grand ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose regime was found guilty of committing gross human rights abuses, including the “systematic and widespread” murder of political opponents.