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Thursday, July 8, 2021

Donald Trump files lawsuit in Florida arguing that Facebook violated his First Amendment rights

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2021 at 3:24 PM

  • Photo by Michael Vadon via Creative Commons license

If you thought a little thing like no longer being the president was going to stop Donald Trump from displaying his ignorance on matters of government, think again.

The game show host turned sleazeball prez just filed a lawsuit alleging that Facebook violated his First Amendment rights by upholding their ban of the president following his egging on of the Capitol riots on Jan. 6. And lucky us, he did it in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida.

Even in our increasingly tech-captured state, Facebook is not the government and therefore has nothing to do with the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. Trump's lawyers argue in the lawsuit that Facebook is essentially the state, because they've been known to cooperate with feds.

They argue that Facebook's "willful participation in joint activity with federal actors" raises them to the level "of a state actor." Although the concept of private businesses falling outside the scope of First Amendment protections is pretty well established, you can't fault the attorneys for trying. Facebook and its ilk are increasingly akin to a public square, though we doubt a case this politically charged will be the one to force a reckoning with that fact.

What you can't let slide, even a little bit, is the lawsuit's further assumption that a certain segments of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 were passed with the idea of censoring Trump in 2021.

The suit claims they were "deliberately enacted by Congress to induce, encourage, and promote social medial companies to accomplish an objective — the censorship of supposedly 'objectionable' but constitutionally protected speech on the Internet."

Social media was not a concept that existed in 1996. Facebook would not launch for another eight years, created by a then 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg. Expect this lawsuit to go the way of the many, many other lawsuits that Trump and his acolytes have filed since his election loss.

Heck, even the state of Florida couldn't win its fight to control social media companies' ability to ban politicians. What makes our most famous hotelier think he'll fare any better?

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