Former President Donald Trump, who has complained about censorship by social media giants, plans to announce class action lawsuits today against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, sources tell Axios.
Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's years-long battle with Twitter and Facebook over free speech and censorship. Trump is completely banned from Twitter and is banned from Facebook for another two years.
Details: Trump is scheduled to make an announcement at a press conference today at 11 am.
- Trump's legal effort is supported by the America First Policy Institute, a non-profit focused on perpetuating Trump's policies.
- The group's president and CEO and board chair, former Trump officials Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins, will accompany him during the announcement.
- Class action lawsuits would enable him to sue the two tech CEOs on behalf of a broader group of people that he argues have been censored by biased policies.
- To date, Trump and other conservative critics have not presented any substantial evidence that either platform is biased against conservatives in its policies or implementation of them.
The big picture: Data shows that Trump's megaphone has been significantly muzzled in light of bans from Big Tech platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook.
- The president and his allies have repeatedly criticized the bans as censorship. The tech giants argue they were put in place for safety reasons following the Capitol siege in January.
- Even during his presidency, Trump has tried to take aim at both CEOs and tech companies. In 2020, he signed an executive order that was meant to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms. President Biden revoked that executive order in May.
What to watch: Lawsuits and actions targeting Big Tech platforms serve as ammunition for Trump's conservative base. Down-ballot Republican candidates have latched onto messages around censorship as part of their campaigns and messaging tactics.