On Tuesday a lawsuit was filed that challenges Donald Trump’s executive order that targeted social media companies like Twitter and Facebook. The new lawsuit claims that Trump violated the companies’ “rights to free speech.”
The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) says in its lawsuit that Trump’s order is “retaliatory” because it specifically “attacked Twitter for using its First Amendment right to comment and moderate the president’s tweets.”
The lawsuit goes on to state that by attacking Twitter, Trump’s order discourages other platforms from exercising their free speech rights to moderate Trump’s posts out of fear that they will be retaliated against by the federal government.
“The Executive Order is designed to deter social media services from fighting misinformation, voter suppression, and the stoking of violence on their platforms,” Alexandra Givens, CDT’s president, and CEO, said on Tuesday. “The President has made clear that his goal is to use threats of retaliation and future regulation to intimidate intermediaries into changing how they moderate content, essentially ensuring that the dangers of voter suppression and disinformation will grow unchecked in an election year.”
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Trump signed the executive order last week after Twitter fact-checked his tweets about mail-in-voting. It was the first time that Twitter had fact-checked Trump. A few days later Twitter restricted one of Trump’s tweets because it violated the social media platforms’ policy on glorifying violence.