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US: Former President Donald Trump Sues Twitter, Google and Facebook Alleging ‘Censorship’

Former US President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against tech giants Google, Twitter, and Facebook, claiming that he’s the victim of censorship.

The class-action lawsuit also targets the three companies’ CEOs.

Mr. Trump was suspended from his social accounts in January over public safety concerns in the wake of the Capitol riots, led by his supporters.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the lawsuit “a very beautiful development for our freedom of speech”.

In a press conference from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr. Trump railed against social media companies and Democrats, who he accused of espousing misinformation.

“We are demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and canceling that you simply know so well,” he said.

The suit requests a writ to finish alleged censorship. Mr. Trump added if they might ban a president, “they can roll in the hay to anyone”.

None of the tech companies named have yet skilled the lawsuit, which was filed to a court in Florida.

Mr. Trump was joined at the announcement by former Trump officials who have since created the not-for-profit America First Policy Institute.

The former president called the post that got him banned from Twitter, “the most loving sentence”.

According to Twitter, the tweets that resulted in Mr. Trump’s ban for “glorification of violence” were from 8 January, two days after the rioting within the nation’s capital. The riot followed his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged in Joe Biden’s favor.

He wrote that the “great patriots” who voted for him will have “a giant voice” and “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape, or form”, and in another post said he wouldn’t attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

At the same time on Wednesday, Mr. Trump’s Republican allies in Congress released a memo describing their plan “to combat Big Tech”.

The agenda involves antitrust measures to “break up” the businesses, and a revamping of law referred to as Section 230.

Section 230, which Mr. Trump tried to repeal as president, essentially stops companies like Facebook and Twitter from being responsible for the items that users post. It gives the businesses “platform” instead of “publisher” status.

“It’s a liability protection the likes of which nobody within the history of our country has ever received,” Mr. Trump said, criticizing the law on Wednesday.

He added that the law invalidates the companies’ statuses as private companies.

The lawsuit has been criticized by legal experts, who pointed to Mr. Trump’s habit of issuing lawsuits for media attention but not aggressively defending the claims in court. His argument of free speech infringement has also been questioned by analysts because the companies he accuses have those self-same First Amendment protections in determining content on their sites.

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