NEWS & ANALYSIS

Federal Judge Rules to Dismiss Trump’s Lawsuit Against Twitter


A federal judge on Friday granted Twitter’s motion to dismiss President Trump’s lawsuit against the company for banning him and others from the platform. 

Trump, the American Conservative Union and five others sued Twitter and Jack Dorsey in 2021 on behalf of themselves and other Twitter users who were banned. 

Trump’s attorneys argued in the court filing that 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,” per BizPacReview. 

Trump’s lawsuit contended that Twitter violated the First Amendment, asserted that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional, and accused Twitter of “deceptive and misleading practices” that violate the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. 

After dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge James Donato in San Francisco said he will allow Trump’s attorneys to file an amended complaint that is “consistent with this order” by May 27. 

The complaint is not allowed to contain any new claims or defendants without prior permission from the court. 

In his order, Donato declared that since Twitter is a private company, the First Amendment is not applicable and that Trump was “not starting from a position of strength” in his argument. 

“Overall, the amended complaint does not plausibly allege that Twitter acted as a government entity when it closed plaintiffs’ accounts,” he wrote. 

The judge dismissed the claim that the federal Communications Decency Act was unconstitutional after finding that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to challenge it. 

Donato said that the only way they could have such standing was to show that Twitter “would not have de-platformed the plaintiff” or others but for the legal immunity conferred by the CDA when it came to content.

Donato dismissed the third claim asserting that Twitter violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices because Trump and the other plaintiffs agreed that California law would govern disputes between Twitter and its users, as Twitter’s terms of service state.

He also dismissed a fourth claim in the suit, made under Florida’s Stop Social Media Censorship Act.