A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Donald Trump challenging his Twitter ban after his account was permanently suspended following the Capitol riots last year.
The former US president had filed a request for a preliminary injunction against the social media company, and tried to argue that Twitter had been “coerced” by members of the US Congress into suspending the account, which has tens of millions of followers.
In a written ruling, U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that Twitter violated his right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Twitter was among several social media platforms that removed Mr Trump of their services after a mob attacked the US Parliament building during the Jan. 6 riot that left several dead.
After the assault, Mr Trump gave a speech in which he reiterated false claims that his electoral defeat was due to widespread fraud – something that has been repeatedly denied by courts and state election officials. .
In a court filing last year, Mr. Trump’s lawyers claimed that the social media site “wields a degree of power and control over political speech in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open a democratic debate”.
The filing added that Twitter allowed the taliban frequently tweeting about his military victories in Afghanistanbut censured the president while in office calling his posts “misleading information”.
In July, Mr. Trump launched a lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc Googleas well as their chief executives, alleging that they are illegally silencing conservative viewpoints.
At the time of his suspension, Twitter argued that his tweets violated the platform’s policy prohibiting “the glorification of violence”.
The company said the tweets that led to Mr. Trump’s withdrawal were “highly likely” to encourage people to replicate what happened during the Capitol Riots.
Governing via Twitter
During his tenure, Mr Trump was often accused of governing by Twitter, with announcements made through his megaphone on social media before official channels – back then a single tweet could spark a frenzy.
For example, in July 2017, he announced his decision to ban transgender troops in three tweets. In March 2018, he dismissed Rex Tillerson, then Secretary of State, via the platform.
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These days, after being thrown into the social media wilderness, he’s forced to make announcements via emailed press releases and his own startup “Truth Social.”
However, this may not be the last time the former Apprentice star is seen online.
Following Elon Muskthere has been speculation that he – as a “free speech absolutist” – could force the restoration of Mr Trump’s account.
However, Mr Musk may find himself constrained by reality, because under US law the right to free speech ends where harm, or incitement to harm, begins.
And, in typical petulant style, Mr Trump said he didn’t want to go back to the platform that rejected him, instead sticking to his own alternative network “Truth Social”.
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