Will Donald Trump ever return to Twitter? So far, it’s been pretty bad. On Friday, a California court ruled a complaint by the former president of the United States against Twitter inadmissible. Donald Trump wanted to be able to return to the social network from which he was banned for inciting violence in January 2021. The Republican billionaire and his co-complainants accuse Twitter of “censorship”, in violation of their right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the American Constitution.
But “the plaintiffs are not in a strong position,” said California judge James Donato, because “Twitter is a private company, and ‘the First Amendment only applies to government-imposed speech restrictions'” . The platform’s rules “give contractual permission to Twitter to act as it wishes with any account or content, for any reason, and even for no reason,” it adds.
Banished after the Capitol Assault
Donald Trump was banned from major networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) after his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, which he is accused of having encouraged. The platforms had justified their decision by the risk of further incitement to violence. Before being ousted from Twitter, the former head of state had some 89 million subscribers. He spoke to them every day, alternating between presidential announcements and attacks on his political enemies.
Donald Trump also asked the court to declare unconstitutional Section 230, a 1996 law that protects Internet hosts from lawsuits related to content published by third parties. But the magistrate replied that it does not hold unless the plaintiffs prove that they suffered damage. The decision comes as Elon Musk has reached an agreement with Twitter’s board of directors to buy the Californian company for 44 billion dollars (about 41.75 billion euros).
The boss of Tesla wants to make the network with the blue bird a bastion of freedom of expression, within the limits provided for by law but with a moderation of content much less restrictive than currently. He considers, like many conservatives, that Twitter is “censoring”. Donald Trump, however, recently told American media that he had no intention of returning to the platform, even if Elon Musk invited him back. He launched his own social network in February, called Truth Social. The judge left the door open for an amended complaint based on his comments.