July 25, 2021

Donald Trump engages in a standoff with social networks

Seven months after being ousted from social media, former US President Donald Trump is attacking Facebook, Twitter, Google and their bosses. He was ousted after reiterating his accusations of fraud in the November 2020 election in an inflammatory speech before hundreds of his supporters assaulted the Capitol on January 6.

“Today, alongside the America First Policy Institute”, an organization that promotes policies defending “America first” [l’un des slogans de campagne de Donald Trump], “I am filing, as principal representative, a major class action lawsuit against the tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as their bosses Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai and Jack Dorsey”, the billionaire announced from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club on Wednesday, July 7.

These three bosses “Implement illegal, unconstitutional censorship”, he said during a formal speech, behind a podium where his name was inscribed. “We Call on the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida to Order an Immediate End to Illegal and Shameful Censorship by Social Media Groups Targeting Americans”, he explained.

Return announced with its own platform

The former president, who has been announcing for several weeks a return on social networks with “Its own platform”, added : “We demand (…) the end of the forced silence. “ “There is no better proof that Big Tech is out of control than the fact that they have banned the President of the United States in office” on their platforms, he hammered. “If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone. And besides, that’s exactly what they do ”, he said, giving a voice to citizens who also claim to be victims of bans. “We are engaged in a fight that we are going to win”, he promised. He said he was seeking exemplary compensation and damages.

Read also Donald Trump plans to return to social media with “his own platform”

At the same time, Republican House officials unveiled a program that would make it easier to take tech companies to court and challenge unfair censorship.

Suspended by Facebook for two years

In June, Facebook suspended Donald Trump for two years. The Republican had already been temporarily excluded on January 7, when he was still president, for having encouraged his supporters during the attack on Capitol Hill in Washington the day before, an unprecedented move. The social network Twitter had also ousted him after the murderous assault on the Capitol during the certification ceremony of the victory of his rival Joe Biden, on January 6.

Before being banned, Donald Trump had nearly 89 million followers on Twitter, 35 million on Facebook and 24 million on Instagram. “Google and YouTube have deleted countless videos that dared to question the judgment of the World Health Organization” during the pandemic, he also explained on Wednesday.

Hundreds of Donald Trump supporters launched an attack on the Capitol in Washington on Jan.6 after whoever was still in office in the White House at the time reiterated his accusations of fraud in an inflammatory speech. Five people have died in the unrest.

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Le Monde with AFP and Reuters