Former US President Donald Trump is going to sue Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a person familiar with the matter said, raising the stakes in his battle against social media giants who have blocked him.
The class-action lawsuits will be announced at a press conference later on Tuesday and are billed as an effort concerning US constitutional (first amendment) rights, according to the person who asked not to be identified discussing matters before they are public. Axios reported the lawsuit earlier.
Twitter permanently banned Trump in January for his role in stoking the mob that attacked the US Capitol in a deadly riot to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden. Facebook last month said Trump would remain suspended from its networks for at least two years, with the possibility of being reinstated in 2023 if risk to public safety has subsided.
Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the suit.
Without access to the broad reach afforded by social media giants, Trump has struggled to maintain an online presence. He shut down his blog-like “From the Desk of Donald J Trump”, though he frequently sends out several press statements a day — often targeting fellow Republicans he believes are insufficiently loyal.
Trump recently stepped up his public activity by restarting rallies and making a trip to the southern US border last week to criticise Biden’s immigration policies. He’s backing candidates in the 2022 midterm elections and actively opposing others. He has also held out the prospect he could run again in 2024.
The former president has been teasing that he’ll launch a new platform that can’t remove him. He said on Dave Rubin’s Rubin Report podcast on 25 June that “there’s a lot of platforms out there, that’s what we’re looking at, getting the right platform, a perfect platform, and I think you’ll see something fairly soon”.
During his presidency, Trump used Twitter for everything from insulting rivals to major policy announcements, and he relied on Facebook especially to raise money from small-dollar donors. — Reported by Mark Niquette and Naomi Nix, (c) 2021 Bloomberg LP