Former President Donald Trump
Tom Brenner | Reuters
But San Francisco federal district court Judge James Donato left the door open for Trump and other plaintiffs to file an amended complaint against Twitter that is consistent with his decision to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety Friday.
The social media giant had banned Trump on Jan. 8, 2021, citing the risk of the incitement of further violence on the heels of the Capitol riot by a mob of supporters of the then-president two days earlier.
Trump, the American Conservative Union, and five individuals had sued Twitter and its co-founder Jack Dorsey last year on behalf of themselves and a class of other Twitter users who had been booted from the app.
The suit alleged that Twitter violated the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights to free speech, arguing that the bans were due to pressure on the company by Democratic members of Congress. The suit also asked the judge to rule that the federal Communications Decency Act was unconstitutional.
The CDA says online service providers such as Twitter cannot be held responsible for content posted by others.
Donato’s ruling comes nearly two weeks after Trump told CNBC he had no interest in returning to Twitter even if his ban were to be lifted by Elon Musk, the Tesla chief whose $44 billion offer to buy Twitter has been accepted by the company’s board.
Before the ban, Trump was an avid Twitter user, tweeting an average of more than 30 posts per day toward the end of his presidency. At the time of the ban, Trump had nearly 90 million followers on Twitter.
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