A California court on Friday declared a lawsuit by Donald Trump against Twitter inadmissible: the former President of the United States wanted to be able to return to the social network from which he was banned in January 2021 for inciting violence.
• Also read: Trump considered bombing drug labs in Mexico
• Also read: Trump attends rally for candidates charged with sexual assault
• Also read: Trump’s son testified before the Capitol Attack Inquiry
The Republican billionaire and his co-plaintiffs have accused Twitter of “censorship,” violating their right to free speech under the US Constitution.
But “the plaintiffs are not in a strong position,” says California Judge James Donato, because “Twitter is a private company and “the First Amendment only applies to government-imposed speech restrictions” (…)”.
The platform’s rules “grant Twitter contractual permission to do as it pleases with any account or content for any reason, and even no reason,” she adds.
Donad Trump was banned from major networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) after his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, which he was accused of encouraging.
The platforms had justified their decision with the risk of further incitement to violence.
Before he was kicked out of Twitter, the former head of state had around 89 million subscribers there. He spoke to them every day, alternating between presidential announcements and attacks on his political enemies.
Donald Trump also asked the court to declare unconstitutional Section 230, a 1996 law that protects Internet hosts from lawsuits related to content posted by third parties.
But the judge replied that it would not apply unless the plaintiffs proved they had suffered harm.
The move comes as Elon Musk reached an agreement with Twitter’s board of directors to buy the California-based company for $44 billion.
The Tesla boss wants to make it a bastion of free speech, within the limits provided by the law, but with much less restrictive content moderation than currently.
He shares the view of many conservatives that Twitter “censors”.
However, Donald Trump recently told American media that he has no intention of returning to the platform even if Elon Musk invites him back. In February, he launched his own social network called Truth Social.
The judge left the door open to an amended complaint based on his statements.