A US federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by former President Donald Trump seeking to lift his ban from Twitter. However, the US federal judge, James Donato left the door open for Trump and other plaintiffs to file an amended complaint against Twitter that is compatible with his written decision Friday to toss the lawsuit in its entirety. The social media giant had imposed a Twitter ban on Trump on Jan. 8, 2021, citing the risk of the provocation of further violence on the heels of the Capitol riot by a mob of followers of the then-president two days earlier.
Donald Trump Previously Sued Jack Dorsey for Imposing Twitter Ban
Moreover, Donald Trump and other five individuals had sued Twitter and its co-founder Jack Dorsey last year on behalf of themselves and a class of other Twitter users who had been booted from the app. Donato’s verdict comes nearly two weeks after Trump stated that he had no interest in returning to Twitter even if his Twitter ban were to be lifted by Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO whose $44 billion offer to buy Twitter has been accepted by the company’s board.
Before the Twitter ban, Donald Trump was an avid Twitter user, tweeting an average of more than 30 posts per day toward the end of his presidency. At the time of the Twitter ban, Trump had nearly 90 million followers on Twitter. His lawsuit alleged that Twitter disregarded the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to free speech, claiming that the bans were due to pressure on the company by Democratic members of Congress.
The First Amendment Does Not Apply to Abridgments by Private Companies
Furthermore, in his 17-page ruling, the US federal judge wrote that Trump and the other plaintiffs “are not starting from a position of strength” with their First Amendment claim. The judge stated, citing federal case law, that, “Twitter is a private company, and ‘the First Amendment applies only to governmental abridgments of speech, and not to alleged abridgments by private companies.’”