Legal experts and other observers blasted president Donald Trump's class-action lawsuit — announced Wednesday — in which he alleges that Facebook, Google and Twitter violated his First Amendment rights by banning him from their platforms for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
First and foremost, many legal experts noted that the First Amendment applies to governmental actors.
Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School in California, told the Washington Post that similar lawsuits have all failed in the past, adding that Trump is "playing a standard media game."
"It fits into a broader pattern of the former president bringing lawsuits and then not vigorously pursuing them," Goldman said. "There's no way a plaintiff has been able to get traction in the past, and there's no way that Trump is going to be able to get traction either."
Paul Barret, the deputy director of the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, added: "Trump has the First Amendment argument exactly wrong. In fact, Facebook and Twitter themselves have a First Amendment free speech right to determine what speech their platforms project and amplify — and that right includes excluding speakers who incite violence, as Trump did in connection with the January 6 Capitol insurrection."
More reactions from Twitter below.
This is even more stupid than I expected https://t.co/QNBQHUQ7k0 https://t.co/LKMFEf5sKR— Ari Cohn (@Ari Cohn) 1625670514.0
Trump found not one but 8 lawyers willing to put their names on lawsuits alleging that private companies violated t… https://t.co/eqWOiowF4q— Jan Wolfe (@Jan Wolfe) 1625673017.0
The First Amendment does *not* apply to non-governmental actors. Full stop. https://t.co/FAmXafuOZZ— Steve Vladeck (@Steve Vladeck) 1625672977.0
One, HAHAHA Two, no. Three, if it was, DOJ would have to intervene and I’m sure that’s totally what Trump wants.… https://t.co/aR11IXQFh2— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1625671518.0
Trump's Facebook lawsuit is filed in federal court in Florida. Facebook's terms of service requires that "any claim… https://t.co/88yp7RIDTx— Brad Heath (@Brad Heath) 1625671768.0
Trump claims he is filing a "class-action" lawsuit against social media companies for throwing him off their platfo… https://t.co/GBO7tCAuOm— S.V. Dáte (@S.V. Dáte) 1625670890.0
Once Trump gets his first set of discovery requests he’ll realize he’s accidentally set up his own 1/6 Commission. https://t.co/WLXV8GheFn— Aki Peritz (@Aki Peritz) 1625671038.0
Obviously Trump's lawsuit against Facebook and Twitter for censoring his posts is dumb and frivolous, which you can… https://t.co/yN0NARnR9w— Jay Willis (@Jay Willis) 1625673165.0
That's two guys with "@aol.com" addresses for their professional email, a 13-lawyer firm that does personal injury… https://t.co/IshJPAjH4b— Akiva Cohen (@Akiva Cohen) 1625673229.0