The Washington Times reports that former President Donald Trump has asked a federal judge to force Twitter to reinstate his account, which was permanently disabled in January following a riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Twitter said at the time it banned Trump that it was afraid he would use the platform to incite further violence after supporters breached the Capitol in anger over the 2020 presidential vote certification, which many considered fraudulent because of supposed voter fraud.
Other tech companies including Facebook and YouTube have also suspended Trump’s accounts, citing similar concerns. YouTube’s ban is indefinite, while Facebook’s is set to last two years, and then be reviewed.
In July, Trump filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against all three tech companies and their CEOs, saying he and other conservatives had been censored wrongfully, according to the Times. The current filing is part of Trump’s case against Twitter.
Trump alleged in the filing that Twitter is violating his First Amendment rights by keeping him off the platform.
Then-President Trump had 89 million Twitter followers before his suspension, the Times said. He claimed that he was building his own social media platform that would be bigger than Twitter, but it has not materialized so far.
The suit claims that Twitter is “a major avenue of public discourse” and that members of the United States Congress “coerced” it into censoring him.
Trump’s Twitter account was a “digital town hall” and an “important source of news and information about government affairs,” the suit said.
New Florida law
The suit also relied on a new Florida law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis (R) that aims to limit what tech companies can do to prevent content from appearing on their platforms.
The law requires the companies to post their terms of service rules clearly and apply them consistently to all accounts, if it seeks to limit accounts.
“When you deplatform the President of the United States, but you let Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei talk about killing Jews, that is wrong,” DeSantis said of Twitter’s current implementation of its terms of service, according to FloridaPolitics.com.
The law itself is being challenged in court and was blocked by a judge in July from being implemented.