Twitter Sues Texas AG Ken Paxton, Claims He "Retaliated" Over Trump Ban

Twitter Sues Texas AG Ken Paxton, Claims He “Retaliated” Over Trump Ban

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleging that the Republican used his office to retaliate against the company for banning Donald Trump’s account after the January riot at the US Capitol. Paxton announced an investigation into Twitter and four other major technology companies days after the deadly insurgency for what he called “the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President.”

The attorney general’s office demanded that the companies turn over a variety of records, including internal communications and content moderation policies

On Monday, Twitter replied with a federal lawsuit claiming Paxton is attempting to prosecute it for deactivating Trump’s account, which the social media giant claims was done in the name of free expression. It requests that a judge find the decision to be within the scope of the First Amendment, effectively halting Paxton’s investigation.

The company’s lawyers wrote in a lawsuit filed in a Northern California court: “Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees.”

Twitter’s retaliation comes as states, as well as federal lawmakers and governments outside the United States, are cracking down on tech firms that they believe have accumulated too much leverage in the last decade. This includes antitrust and anti-monopoly regulations, internet privacy rules, and efforts to control how social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook moderate their pages.

Paxton was one of ten Republican attorney generals who sued Google in December for allegedly operating an unconstitutional digital-advertising monopoly in collusion with Facebook.

Republicans have also introduced bills in approximately two dozen states that would allow civil litigation against websites for what they call “censorship” of posts. This almost often refers to what they perceive to be repression of conservative or Christian religious views.

Although there is no proof that tech firms are biased towards conservatives, the narrative has been prominent among Republicans since before Trump’s election, and it has only grown louder during his presidency. After inciting the Capitol protests on Jan. 6,  Trump was barred from Twitter for life and briefly removed from Facebook.

Paxton referenced the First Amendment in initiating his investigation, claiming that the tech companies’ exclusion of  Trump “chills free speech” and “wholly silences” those who disagree.

Twitter, like the other companies affected by Paxton, such as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Amazon, is a private entity, so its decisions about what content to allow on its services are not covered by the First Amendment. Unlike the government, they have the authority to silence users.

Trump and other world leaders have long been excluded from the company’s laws regarding personal attacks, hate speech, and other activities. However, after five people were killed in the Capitol riot, the company claimed that Trump’s tweets amounted to the glorification of crime, while preparations for potentially armed demonstrations around then-President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration were circulating online.

Paxton is facing other legal challenges, including an FBI investigation.

 

 

About Iesha

Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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