Twitter is suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for an alleged unlawful abuse of his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer in the state.
In the lawsuit, Twitter claims that Paxton has been intimidating, harassing and targeting Twitter “in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights.”
“The rights of free speech and of the press afforded Twitter under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution include the right to make decisions about what content to disseminate through its platform. This right specifically includes the discretion to remove or otherwise restrict access to Tweets, profiles, or other content posted to Twitter. AG Paxton may not compel Twitter to publish such content over its objection, and he may not penalize Twitter for exercising its right to exclude such content from its platform,” the suit states, per the Epoch Times.
So, the First Amendment grants Twitter the overarching authority to completely ban conservative voices, like President Trump, for exercising their own personal First Amendment rights?
That seems egregiously hypocritical and contradictory.
In response to the conservative blacklisting following the incident at the Capitol on January 8, Paxton sent civil investigative demands to the Big Tech giant and other platforms, like Google, demanding information related to their content moderation practices and policies.
He told the Epoch Times in a recent interview that the investigation is looking into what happened with Trump’s accounts on various social platforms.
“Because there’s a monopoly with these companies, they control the entire platform. They’re like a utility company that we regulate. And we say, ‘hey, you have to provide power to everybody, because you’re the only choice.’ Normally, I’d say your right private company can do what they want, and consumers have choices. Here, consumers don’t have a choice, they have no choice. And so we have to regulate that and make sure that free speech is not being controlled by a few very wealthy tech people,” he said.
But, in the eyes of the Big Tech conglomerate, the only free speech that matters is their own, apparently.
In a written statement announcing the civil investigative demands, Paxton said that “First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive.”
“The public deserves the truth about how these companies moderate and possibly eliminate speech they disagree with,” he said. “I am hopeful that these companies will set aside partisan politics and cooperate with these CIDs in order to get to the bottom of this contention and ensure a truly free online community consistent with the highest American ideals.”
According to Twitter, however, disclosing moderation processes would undermine their effectiveness. The company said it attempted to negotiate a reasonable agreement with Paxton to put limits on his demands, but he wouldn’t compromise.
So much for transparency!
“Instead, AG Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees. Now Twitter, already targeted because of its protected activity, is left with the untenable choice to turn over highly sensitive documents or else face legal sanction,” Twitter’s lawyers wrote.
The lawsuit requests that a judge declare Paxton’s efforts unlawful and prohibit him from initiating any action to enforce the CIDs or otherwise pursue a probe of Twitter’s internal decisions.
Just how far will Big Tech go to ensure that the only speech protected is their own, leaving users silenced and manipulated?