On Wednesday, the judge dismissed a suit filed by President Trump against Twitter. The president sought $250 million in damages for alleged censorship of his tweets on the platform.

Judge Dismisses Trump Suit Against Twitter Over Censorship Claims


Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc.

Bloomberg News/ Eva Marie Uzcategui

Updated at 8:31 p.m. on May 6, 2022 ET

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by former President Donald Trump last year against Twitter Inc. TWTR -1.11 percent and then-CEO Jack Dorsey over claimed censorship, an issue that the company’s possible new owner, Elon Musk, has promised to address.

Mr. Trump and other plaintiffs seeking class-action status against Twitter were denied by U.S. District Judge James Donato of the Northern District of California on Friday, stating that accusations that their Twitter accounts were restricted by Twitter did not violate their First Amendment rights. Mr. Trump was the case’s most notable plaintiff.

The court said, “Plaintiffs are not beginning from a position of strength,” noting case law that the First Amendment only applies to government speech limits, not private company prohibitions.

Mr. Trump’s personal account was suspended two days after a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, citing the possibility of future encouragement of violence. Mr. Trump has now launched his own social media network, Truth Social, and has said that he has no intentions to return to Twitter in the future.

Twitter’s spokesperson refused to comment. Requests for response from Mr. Trump and Mr. Dorsey were not returned.

Mr. Musk may face a legal fight as he seeks to execute a $44 billion agreement to purchase Twitter and take it private. The CEO of Tesla Inc. has said that he intends to modify the company’s content-moderation policies, adding that discourse on the platform should be open as long as it does not violate the law. Last month, a senior European regulator warned Mr. Musk that he would have to abide by the bloc’s new content control standards.

Mr. Musk’s remarks have prompted a discussion over the boundaries of online conversation and how the tech behemoths behind the most popular social media sites police their rules. Twitter and its contemporaries have long battled to find a balance between allowing users to express themselves while also preventing the spread of hatred, disinformation, and incitement to violence.

Mr. Musk is coming closer to finalizing the Twitter transaction. He claimed he put together a group of investors to offer more than $7 billion to support his proposal in a regulatory filing on Thursday. He previously said that he had secured over $25 billion in debt from a consortium of banks headed by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp., and Barclays PLC. He also said that he will personally invest $21 billion.

Sarah E. Needleman can be reached at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

‘Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Against Twitter,’ appeared in the print edition on May 7, 2022.

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