On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by former president Donald Trump, titled, “Donald J. Trump: Why I’m Suing Big Tech.”
“One of the gravest threats to our democracy today is a powerful group of Big Tech corporations that have teamed up with the government to censor the free speech of the American people,” Trump began. He then claimed that “This is not only wrong,” but that “it is unconstitutional.”
“To restore free speech for myself and for every American, I am suing Big Tech to stop it,” the former president said.
Trump then argued that “Social media has become as central to free speech as town meeting halls, newspapers and television networks were in prior generations” and that “The internet is the new public square.”
“In recent years, however, Big Tech platforms have become increasingly brazen and shameless in censoring and discriminating against ideas, information and people on social media — banning users, de-platforming organizations, and aggressively blocking the free flow of information on which our democracy depends,” he claimed, before accusing Big Tech giants of “manipulating and controlling the political debate itself.”
Trump gave various examples of what he argued amounted to Big Tech censorship, including topics related to COVID-19 and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
“Perhaps most egregious, in the weeks after the election, Big Tech blocked the social-media accounts of the sitting president,” Trump noted. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to you — and believe me, they are.”
Trump added a personal touch to the piece, describing the experience of various individuals who had also reportedly experienced censorship. “Meanwhile, Chinese propagandists and the Iranian dictator spew threats and hateful lies on these platforms with impunity,” Trump quipped.
“This flagrant attack on free speech is doing terrible damage to our country. That is why in conjunction with the America First Policy Institute, I filed class-action lawsuits to force Big Tech to stop censoring the American people. The suits seek damages to deter such behavior in the future and injunctions restoring my accounts,” Trump explained. “Our lawsuits argue that Big Tech companies are being used to impose illegal and unconstitutional government censorship. In 1996 Congress sought to promote the growth of the internet by extending liability protections to internet platforms, recognizing that they were exactly that—platforms, not publishers. Unlike publishers, companies such as Facebook and Twitter can’t be held legally liable for the content posted to their sites. Without this immunity, social media companies could not exist.”
Trump then referenced the lawsuits’ focus on Democrats in Congress, who Trump accused of “exploiting this leverage to coerce platforms into censoring their political opponents,” with examples including Big Tech CEOs attending committee hearings with Democrats demanding “that they censor ‘false’ stories and ‘disinformation’ — labels determined by an army of partisan fact-checkers loyal to the Democrat Party.”
Trump also argued that “Big Tech and government agencies are actively coordinating to remove content from the platforms according to the guidance of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” claiming that “tech companies are doing the government’s bidding, colluding to censor unapproved ideas.”
“This coercion and coordination is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has held that Congress can’t use private actors to achieve what the Constitution prohibits it from doing itself. In effect, Big Tech has been illegally deputized as the censorship arm of the U.S. government. This should alarm you no matter your political persuasion. It is unacceptable, unlawful, and un-American,” Trump concluded. “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.”