A federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit filed by former US President Donald Trump trying to seek to reinstate his suspended Twitter account on Friday. According to the judge, the suit’s assertion that Twitter “censored” Trump in violation of free speech rights was weak because the First Amendment prevents government bodies, not private corporations, from interfering with what citizens say. In dismissing the lawsuit, US District Court Judge James Donato stated that the amended grievance “does not plausibly allege a First Amendment claim
“The TOS (terms of service) granted Twitter contractual permission to act in any way it saw fit with regard to any account or content for any or no reason.”
Donato left the door open for the suit, which was filed by Trump, the American Conservative Union, and a few individuals who claimed they were “de-platformed,” to be amended and refiled.
The suit named Twitter and its former CEO, Jack Dorsey, as defendants and sought monetary damages as well as an order that the suspended accounts be immediately reinstated.
Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account two days after his speech at a January 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally characterized by inflammation a mob that later laid siege to the Capitol as lawmakers were declaring President Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump was kicked off Twitter “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” caused by his tweets, according to the service at the time.
The legal fall comes as billionaire Elon Musk is in the process of purchasing Twitter and promising to keep content moderation to a bare minimum.
The agreement allows Musk to reconsider the ban on the outspoken Republican, a move that could roil US politics as the country prepares for the November midterm elections and a possible Trump re-election bid in 2024.