Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, citing multiple offenses including defamation, conspiracy, and negligence. The lawsuit, filed in Virginia, asks for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
Currently, Twitter is considered to be a content platform rather than a producer, but Nunes claims the site has overstepped its bounds as merely a host because they’ve taken an active and aggressive interest in filtering and censoring content. They’ve also been aggressive in their banning and “shadowbanning” practices, the latter of which impacted Nunes’s account itself.
This has a very good potential of opening that particular can of worms, as I noted on Twitter:
While everyone focuses on the large dollar amount of the lawsuit, the real fruit from all this is the potential to count Twitter and other social media sites as more than just content platforms due to their aggressive filtering, banning, and censoring. https://t.co/NunECp1EBv
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) March 18, 2019
There are three acceptable possibilities that can come from this or other actions.
- Twitter stops banning, censoring, and filtering content altogether other than content that is illegal or filtered by a user upon request. It’s important to throw that in, not because it needs to said to most people but because many anti-free-speech activists (better known as hate-speech protesters) would perceive the goal of ending censorship as a requested license for no-holds-barred free posting. It’s one thing to ban someone for doxxing or making actual threats. It’s a whole other thing to ban people for being critical of sharia law, for example, or to tell people they should learn how to code.
- Twitter keeps their current filters, bans, and censorship in place but they do so across the ideological, political, cultural, and religious spectrum. There are countless instances where double standards are applied based upon an unwillingness to offend the left while actually craving opportunities to offend the right. One need only look at Ayatollah Khamenei’s Twitter account for examples of someone who can threaten lives without worrying about a Twitter ban.
- Police the site how they want, but remove the protections against defamation and other lawsuits in an acknowledgement that they’re a content aggregator, not simply a platform.
I’ll admit up front that this site has a vested interest in cleaning up Twitter. Several of our writers have been banned on Twitter for being too aggressively conservative. I know with a certainty that none of their Tweets were as heinous as others’ who are allowed to stay on the site simply because they’re not conservative. But we have no real recourse against the social media giant. As a crowdfunded news outlet that relies on our readers for donations, we would never waste the money getting legal over a handful of Twitter accounts. They’re just not worth it.
But it’s more than just the money. They are a private corporation and I always push back against government interactions with private business. It’s their platform. They can do what they want with it. If they want to be hyper-leftist, that’s their prerogative, just as we will be staunchly conservative. But we’re held to a higher degree of accountability because we’re not a platform the way Twitter is currently classified. It’s this area, the way they’re classified, that we can see fruit coming forth from this lawsuit.
What Nunes is doing isn’t really about the money. It’s about putting Twitter’s anti-conservative and anti-Judeo-Christian practices in the spotlight and establishing a change in the system that holds them accountable. I support the Congressman in this effort.
Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?