The Slatest

Trump Asks Judge to Force Twitter to Restore His Account

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 7, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference announcing a class action lawsuit against big tech companies at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 7, 2021 in Bedminster, New Jersey. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

A few months ago, former President Donald Trump made it seem as though he didn’t care that Twitter had kicked him off its platform. “A lot of people are leaving Twitter,” Trump said back in March, adding that the platform had become “very boring.” But now it seems the former president has changed his mind and he wants his account back as soon as possible. Trump has asked a federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to restore his account on the social media platform. In the late Friday filing, the former president calls on the judge to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow him to once again use his account as he continues with a larger lawsuit against the company.

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The filing argues that Twitter was “censoring” the former president with the ban. And the censorship isn’t trivial because Twitter “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate,” according to the complaint. The censorship that Trump alleges doesn’t just have to do with suspending his account, but also with the way Twitter labeled some of his tweets as “misleading information” or saying that they violated rules against “glorifying violence” when he was president. The filing alleges that the “ludicrous incongruity of Twitter’s position on the matter came to full focus several months later” when the Taliban was allowed to “tweet regularly.”

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Trump alleges in the filing that Twitter suspended his account because the company was “coerced by members of the United States Congress” to ban him from what the filing describing as “a major avenue of public discourse.” Trump was permanently banned from Twitter on Jan. 8, two days after a mob of his followers stormed the Capitol in an attack that led to five deaths. At the time, Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” from the then-president, who had 88 million followers on the platform.

The move to try to get his account back comes a few months after Trump filed class-action lawsuits against Twitter, Facebook, and Google, as well as their chief executives, in July. In those lawsuits, the former president argues the companies violated his First Amendment rights by suspending his accounts, which he characterized as part of a pattern of silencing conservative voices. Legal experts have said the lawsuits have little chance of going anywhere considering the First Amendment protects against censorship by the government, not by private companies. But Trump argues in the lawsuits the companies should be considered “a state actor” rather than private companies.

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