On Friday, May 7, a US Judge rejected a lawsuit from former President Donald Trump against Twitter Inc. This lawsuit challenged Trump’s suspension from the social media platform. US District Judge James Donato in San Francisco dismissed Trump in a written ruling. The former president argues that Twitter was in violation of his right to freedom of speech. This right is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Along with other social media platforms, Twitter Inc banned Trump from using their service in 2021. This was before a deadly riot occurred on January 6, 2021 when his supporters attacked the US Capitol. The former president delivered a speech right before this assault took place. In it, he reiterated false claims about him losing the November election as a result of widespread fraud. Notably, this assertion was dismissed by several courts, along with state election officials. In a court filing last year, Trump’s attorneys alleged how Twitter has a considerable control over the ‘political discourse’ in the US.
Twitter “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.”
Twitter stated that Trump’s posts on the platform had violated its policy barring ‘glorification of violence,’ while applying a permanent ban on his account. The social media company stated at the time that his tweets were ‘highly likely’ to inspire masses to replicate the incidents in the Capitol riots. His account was ultimately suspended due to his tweets which the platform considered to be a clear violation. Prior to being blocked, the former president had over 88 million followers on the platform, often using it as a social media outlet to get his thoughts across to the masses.
As we know, another personality to use Twitter as such an outlet is Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He visibly expressed all his thoughts and opinions on the platform, which also landed him in trouble as a results sometimes. Moreover, owing to these factors, he was an active advocate for freedom of speech on the platform.
Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion last month at $54.20 per share. With his acquisition, one of the first things he wants to get in order is the efficient establishment of freedom of speech on the platform. Reports specify that his order was even shadowbanned post his acquisition of the company.