Twitter asks judge to throw out Trump's lawsuit over ban

The social network says Trump misinterpreted free speech.

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A photo illustration shows the suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump on a smartphone at the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2021.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Illustration
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

It won't surprise you to hear Twitter is fighting former President Trump's lawsuit over his ban. Bloomberg reports Twitter has asked a judge to dismiss the suit as it allegedly misinterprets and threatens the company's First Amendment free speech rights. The social network noted it was a private company that isn't obligated to host speech it doesn't like, and that Trump repeatedly violated the rules he agreed to when he chose to use the service. A forced ban reversal would challenge "bedrock principles of constitutional law," Twitter said.

Moreover, Twitter argued its editorial choices related to basic public concerns, including threats to a peaceful White House transition as well as statements that could foster "further violence." The company merely flagged Trump's tweets as misleading in the run-up to the January 6th Capitol assault, but banned him after he continued.

Lead attorney John Coale has contended Twitter is a "state actor" as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act supposedly equates to a subsidy that forces it to honor the First Amendment like the government does. Biden's Justice Department has objected to this interpretation in a court filing, however, stating that Section 230 is only meant to protect against liability, not regulate the speech of officials like the ex-President.

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Not now

Trump isn't waiting for a return to Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. He recently launched Truth Social in a bid to enable himself and other conservatives who've felt silenced by tech companies. If Twitter succeeds in its dismissal request, though, Trump won't have much of a choice but to give up his once-preferred platform.

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