‘They’re immune from so many different things, but not this lawsuit’: Trump says of Big Tech

Donald Trump went after Big Tech again on Sunday when he claimed Facebook and Twitter are ‘not immune’ from his lawsuit against them.

‘They’re immune from so many different things, but they’re not immune from this lawsuit because what they’ve done is such a violation of the Constitution,’ Trump told Fox News in a Sunday morning phone interview. ‘A violation like we’ve never seen before.’

The ex-president railed against Section 230 protections, which provides immunities for social media platforms from being held responsible for what their users post.

‘They’re getting the biggest subsidy that any company has ever gotten from a government,’ Trump said of the protection in the Communications Decency Act.

Trump announced at a press conference on Wednesday his lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube, along with their CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai.

He demanded at the New Jersey press conference that his accounts be reinstated.

The suit claims that Trump and other conservatives have been wrongfully censored.

Donald Trump railed against social media on Fox News Sunday morning, claiming: 'They're immune from so many different things, but they're not immune from this lawsuit'

Donald Trump railed against social media on Fox News Sunday morning, claiming: 'They're immune from so many different things, but they're not immune from this lawsuit'

Donald Trump railed against social media on Fox News Sunday morning, claiming: ‘They’re immune from so many different things, but they’re not immune from this lawsuit’

Legal experts, however, say the suits are likely doomed to fail, given existing precedent and legal protections.

Trump has been suspended from the platforms since January, when his followers stormed the Capitol building, trying to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr. issued a fundraising appeal asking for donations to support the former president’s class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

‘Guys my dad is suing big tech!!!’ Trump Jr wrote in a post Thursday on Telegram, an alternative social media platform. He added: ‘you can click to link to donate to his PAC to help out!!!’

The link directs supporters to a joint fundraising page for the Save America PAC and Make America Great Again PAC, which asks potential donors: ‘Will you stand with President Trump and support him in this fight?’

Trump Jr’s fundraising appeal was largely met with supportive comments on his Telegram channel, with many vowing to donate and questions about how to join the class-action suit. 

Don Jr issued a fundraising appeal asking for donations to support his father's class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google

Don Jr issued a fundraising appeal asking for donations to support his father's class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google

Don Jr issued a fundraising appeal asking for donations to support his father’s class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter and Google

Trump Jr wrote in a post Thursday on Telegram asking for donations to his dad's PAC

Trump Jr wrote in a post Thursday on Telegram asking for donations to his dad's PAC

Trump Jr wrote in a post Thursday on Telegram asking for donations to his dad’s PAC

‘I have prayed for this to happen since back in February when Facebook permanently deleted my 17 year account!’ one person commented.

Some replies were harshly critical of the fundraising appeal, however, calling Trump Jr a ‘grifter’. 

‘Your dad is a billionaire, why does he need our money?’ one person asked.

The companies, in maintaining their ban on the ex-president’s accounts, cited concerns that Trump would incite further violence. All three declined to comment on the lawsuit on Wednesday. 

Donald Trump announced class action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook Google and their chief executives on behalf of users who have been banned at an event at his New Jersey golf club on Wednesday. He also said he was seeking punitive damages

Donald Trump announced class action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook Google and their chief executives on behalf of users who have been banned at an event at his New Jersey golf club on Wednesday. He also said he was seeking punitive damages

Donald Trump announced class action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook Google and their chief executives on behalf of users who have been banned at an event at his New Jersey golf club on Wednesday. He also said he was seeking punitive damages

‘We’re asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order an immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people,’ Trump said of the filings. ‘We´re going to hold big tech very accountable.’

Twitter, Facebook and Google are all private companies, and users must agree to their terms of service to use their products. 

Under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, social media platforms are allowed to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services´ own standards, so long as they are acting in ‘good faith.’ 

The law also generally exempts internet companies from liability for the material that users post.

But Trump and some other politicians have long argued that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have abused that protection and should lose their immunity – or at least have it curtailed.

The suit against Facebook and CEO Zuckerberg says Facebook acted unconstitutionally when it removed Trump from the platform. Suits against Twitter and YouTube make similar claims. 

All three ask the court to award unspecified damages, declare Section 230 unconstitutional and restore Trump’s accounts, along with those of several other plaintiffs who joined the suits and have also had posts or accounts removed.

Zuckerberg is seen arriving at Sun Valley on Thursday, a day after Trump sued him

Zuckerberg is seen arriving at Sun Valley on Thursday, a day after Trump sued him

Zuckerberg is seen arriving at Sun Valley on Thursday, a day after Trump sued him

Trump’s lawsuits, however, are likely doomed to fail, said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who has studied more than 60 similar, failed lawsuits that sought to take on internet companies for terminating or suspending users´ accounts.

‘They’ve argued everything under the sun, including First Amendment, and they get nowhere,’ Goldman said. ‘Maybe he’s got a trick up his sleeve that will give him a leg up on the dozens of lawsuits before him. I doubt it.’

‘Trump’s suit is DOA,’ echoed Paul Barrett, the deputy director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University´s Stern School of Business.

Barrett said Trump was fundamentally misunderstanding the Constitution. ‘The First Amendment applies to government censorship or speech regulation. It does not stop private sector corporations from regulating content on their platforms,’ he said by email. 

‘In fact, Facebook and Twitter themselves have a First Amendment free speech right to determine what speech their platforms project and amplify — and that right includes excluding speakers who incite violence, as Trump did in connection with the January 6 Capitol insurrection.’

Goldman said he suspected Trump’s legal team knows it is not going to win in court, and suggested Trump was pursuing the suits to garner attention. 

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