Twitter sues Texas AG, alleging retaliation for Trump’s ban – tech2.org

Twitter sues Texas AG, alleging retaliation for Trump’s ban


Twitter has filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Twitter responded Monday with a federal lawsuit alleging that Paxton seeks to punish him for disconnecting Trump’s account, a decision the social media company says protects free speech. He asks a judge to declare that the decision falls under the purview of the First Amendment and to essentially stop the Paxton investigation.

Spokesmen for Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

The Twitter backlash comes as states, in addition to federal lawmakers and governments outside of the US, are cracking down on tech companies they believe have amassed too much power in the past decade. This includes antitrust and antitrust regulation, Internet privacy laws, as well as attempts to regulate how platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and others moderate their sites.

In December, Paxton led 10 Republican attorneys general to sue Google for allegedly running an illegal digital advertising monopoly in collusion with Facebook.

Republican politicians in about two dozen states have also introduced bills that would allow civil lawsuits against platforms for what they call “censorship” of publications. Most of the time, this means what they see as censorship of conservative or Christian religious views.

While there is no evidence that tech companies are biased against conservatives, the narrative has been popular with Republicans since before President Trump was elected and only grew stronger throughout his tenure. Trump, who was banned for life from Twitter and temporarily suspended from Facebook after inciting the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill, only reinforced it.

In launching his investigation, Paxton cited the First Amendment as saying that Trump’s banishment by tech companies “chills free speech” and “completely silences” those who disagree with them.

However, Twitter, as well as the other companies Paxton targeted, including Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon, is a private company, so the First Amendment does not apply to your decisions about what material to allow on your services. . Unlike the government, Twitter can silence people. The company had long granted Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behavior. But after five people were killed in the riot on Capitol Hill, the company said Trump’s tweets amounted to glorifying violence as plans for future armed protests surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden circulated online.

Twitter’s lawsuit comes as Paxton faces other legal challenges, including an FBI investigation into claims that he used his office to benefit a wealthy donor.

He is also awaiting trial on unrelated securities fraud charges dating back to 2015. Paxton has pleaded not guilty and the case has been stalled for years by legal challenges.

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Ortutay reported from Oakland, California.

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