“We are calling for an end to the shadow ban, an end to silence and an end to the black lists, bans and deletions that you know so well,” said Trump. “Our case will prove that this censorship is unlawful, unconstitutional, and completely un-American.”
Trump’s political operation issued calls for funds almost immediately after the announcement, a sign that his team believes the effort will animate and excite members of his base.
Trump has been permanently banned from Twitter and indefinitely banned from Facebook and Instagram in response to posts he posted around the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, led by his supporters. A long line of court rulings has found that despite Trump’s assertion to the contrary, such suspensions do not violate any right under the First Amendment.
“There is no better evidence that Big Tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the incumbent President of the United States earlier this year. A ban that continues to this day, ”he said. “If you can do it to me, you can do it to anyone and that’s exactly what you’re doing.”
The lawsuits allege that the former president’s First Amendment rights were violated by the corporations’ actions and that they exceeded the protections afforded under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 1996.
The lawsuit is backed by the America First Policy Institute, a newly formed nonprofit that is armed with ideological allies and former Trump administration officials to advance the former president’s agenda after his retirement. The contentious former president has a decades-long history of both lawsuits and threats dating back to his career as a real estate developer in New York City.
Trump was accompanied by Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of AFPI, and CEO Linda McMahon. McMahon led the Small Business Administration under Trump and Rollins was a senior domestic policy advisor to the White House during his tenure.
Trump has complained bitterly about the loss of his social media megaphone in the wake of the January 6 riot, arguing that his exclusion from these platforms is evidence of the bias towards conservative speeches made by the tech giants. In June, Facebook announced that Trump would not regain access to his accounts until 2023 at the earliest.
Despite the popularity of right-wing figures on major social media platforms, Republicans have become increasingly excited about the idea of “big tech censorship” and have sought ways to contain these companies. Florida lawmakers passed a law preventing platforms from banning political candidates or risking hefty fines, but a federal judge issued an injunction last week blocking its implementation.
Several copycat social media platforms have sprung up marketing themselves as friendlier terrain for MAGA believers, including one that was recently endorsed by Trump adviser Jason Miller and has ties to Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire who is right-wing Arsonist Steve Bannon is close.
Trump has pursued several alternative avenues to get his message across as he remains a central force in GOP politics, including a failed foray into blogging that lasted about a month. But he hasn’t signed up with Miller-backed Twitter competitor called GETTR.
When asked by a reporter, Trump said he was not sure he would rejoin social media platforms even if he were re-admitted in response to the lawsuit.
Representatives from each of the three companies declined to comment on Trump’s announcement.
Axios first reported on Trump’s lawsuit on Wednesday morning.