Twitter has filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming that he used his office to retaliate against the social media giant for banning former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol, according to the Associated Press.
Following Trump's banishment by several left-leaning companies, Paxton announced that his office was investigating Twitter, Apple, Google and Amazon for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President." He made several document requests related to their content moderation policies, as well as internal communications.
Twitter demands that the court effectively halt Paxton's investigation.
"Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees," wrote Twitter's lawyers in the suit filed in a Northern California court.
Twitter’s counterpunch comes as states, in addition to federal lawmakers and governments outside the U.S., are cracking down on tech companies they see as having amassed too much power in the past decade. This includes antitrust and anti-monopoly regulation, internet privacy laws as well as attempts to regulate how platforms like Twitter, Facebook and others moderate their sites.
In December, Paxton led 10 Republican attorneys general in suing Google for allegedly running an illegal digital-advertising monopoly in cahoots with Facebook.
GOP politicians in roughly two dozen states have also introduced bills that would allow for civil lawsuits against platforms for what they call the “censorship” of posts. Almost always, this means what they view as the censorship of conservative or Christian religious viewpoints. -Associated Press
Paxton cited the First Amendment while launching his investigation, claiming that tech companies' deplatforming of Trump "chills free speech" and "wholly silences" his detractors.
Twitter, however, does not have to abide by the First Amendment as they are a private firm with the right to silence users it disagrees with. Trump and other world leaders have been given broad exemptions, however the company said Trump's tweets leading up to Jan. 6 constituted glorification of violence.