Former US president Donald Trump today announced class action lawsuits against tech giants Twitter, Facebook and Google.
Lawsuits will also be issued against the companies’ CEOs, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google.
First reported by Axios, Trump’s legal action is supported by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit group launched earlier this year to propagate Trump’s policies. The group’s president and CEO and board chair, both former Trump officials, appeared alongside Trump at a press conference today.
Earlier this year, Trump was banned from Facebook for two years and permanently banned from Twitter. His accounts were taken down from both platforms, greatly reducing his influence on social media.
Trump said he and AFPI are asking the US district court for the southern district of Florida for an “immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people” and to impose “punitive damages” on the companies.
The legal action will allow the former president to sue the tech giants’ CEOs for what he and his allies have claimed to be censorship due to biased policies.
Trump and other critics of the platforms have not produced any substantial evidence of the companies’ policies being biased against conservatives.
Both Facebook and Twitter cite safety reasons for his ban after his supporters broke into the US Capitol building during a riot in January.
Five deaths were linked to the attack, including that of a US Capitol Police officer, and multiple people were injured.
He said the action will also be on behalf of other users also banned from Twitter, Facebook and Google-owned YouTube.
Trump’s family business was on the other end of legal action last week, as The Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg were charged with tax fraud. Both pleaded not guilty to having schemed since 2005 to defraud tax authorities.
According to prosecutors, Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump for 48 years, was able to conceal $1.76m (£1.3m) of income from tax authorities.
Prosecutor Carey Dunne said at the arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court: “It was orchestrated by the most senior executives who were financially benefiting themselves and the company, by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers.”
The indictment could undermine the relationships of Trump’s company with banks and business partners.
It could also complicate Trump’s political future, as he resumes holding rallies and mulls a 2024 White House run.