Following last week's announcement that President Trump was filing a class-action lawsuit suing the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google over allegations of illegal censorship, Trump has published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he lays out his legal team's argument: Big Tech has colluded with government to censor the free speech of the American people, Trump said.
Since social media has become "as central to free speech as town meeting halls, newspapers and television networks were in prior generations." Despite the fact that the internet is "the new public square", Big Tech has become increasingly "brazen and shameless in censoring and discriminating against ideas, information and people on social media - banning users, deplatforming organizations, and aggressively blocking the free flow of information on which our democracy depends."
"No longer are Big Tech giants simply removing specific threats of violence. They are manipulating and controlling the political debate itself."
Trump also cited Big Tech's decision to bar him from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. "Perhaps most egregious, in the weeks after the election, Big Tech blocked the social-media accounts of the sitting president. If they can do it to me, they can do it to you—and believe me, they are."
While Chinese and Iranian propagandists are allowed to operate with impunity, social media platforms have attacked a Michigan schoolteacher for sharing an article questioning whether mandatory masks are suitable for young children in schools. A Florida couple that lost their 21-year-old son in a fatal car accident caused by a 2x-deported illegal immigrant was censored by Facebook when they posted about border security and immigration enforcement, Trump said.
These regular people will appear as plaintiffs alongside Trump and his America First Policy Institute, which is co-sponsoring the litigation.
Worst of all, when Democrats in Congress demand that big tech CEOs "fact check" what they insist are "false" stories, Trump says that these "disinformation" labels are supplied by partisan fact-checkers loyal to the Democratic Party. This is tantamount to "suppression of speech that those in power do not like."
"Through these lawsuits, I intend to restore free speech for all Americans—Democrats, Republicans and independents. I will never stop fighting to defend the constitutional rights and sacred liberties of the American people."
Finally, Trump cited the Trusted News Initiative, a program whereby Twitter, Facebook and Google all take orders from the CDC about which information to combat.
Some legal experts have said Trump's lawsuit may succeed in pressuring these platforms into letting him back on. Former "Dream Team" lawyer Alan Dershowitz said last week that Trump's class-action lawsuit was "very, very important" for the future of free speech in the US.
Dershowitz, a longtime Harvard law professor, said that recent actions taken by the social media giants are “inconsistent with the spirit of free speech that underlies our First Amendment.” According to him, the lawsuit "will shake things up considerably, though I can’t predict in the end how it will come up."
Merely pressuring Facebook and Twitter to abandon some of their efforts to censor conservatives would probably go down as a "victory" in Trump's book.