Donald Trump wants a federal court to make Twitter give him back his bullhorn. In a late Friday legal filing, the ex-president asked a US district judge to grant a preliminary injunction that would restore his account while his lawsuit against Twitter makes its way through the courts.
Friday’s filing argues that Twitter is “censoring” Trump and that the social media giant had been “coerced” into the ban by Trump’s opponents in Congress, The Washington Post reported.
Twitter banned Trump on Jan.8, two days after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol building in a riot that left several people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Twitter said the ban was “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” In July, Trump sued over the Twitter ban.
Trump’s use of Twitter redefined politics, letting him sidestep mainstream media to try to take hold of the political narrative. His account had 88 million followers, the Post noted, and his reach has been significantly reduced since the ban.
One researcher found that the week after the ban, online misinformation about election fraud fell by 73%. However, some Trump tweets that were blocked over election misinformation continue to circulate on other platforms.
Twitter wasn’t alone in booting Trump. Facebook and Google-owned YouTube also kicked him off their sites after the Capitol riots. The former president sued those platforms alongside Twitter, alleging censorship and First Amendment violations.
Lawsuits that allege censorship and that argue social media companies violate the First Amendment when they remove posts or ban users have repeatedly been rejected by courts across the country. The First Amendment applies to the government, not to private companies like social media sites.
Twitter declined to comment about Trump’s Friday legal filing. Lawyers for Trump didn’t immediately comment.