Trump, suspended from most major social media platforms for his part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, brought a class-action lawsuit in July alleging censorship by Facebook, Twitter, and Google's YouTube, along with their respective CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai. Thursday's filing, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, was for a preliminary injunction on Facebook’s ban while he proceeds to try to get perpetual access.
“This preliminary injunction against Facebook seems appropriate to file this week since they’ve been big in the news lately for all the issues they’re facing,” said John Coale, lead counsel of the Trump lawsuits against Big Tech companies. Constitutional Litigation Partnership, a legal entity founded by Trump and his allies earlier this year, maintains the lawsuit.
Trump's accounts on Facebook and its subsidiary, Instagram, had a mixed following of about 59 million. His legal team claims Facebook is preventing him while being a major path for public discourse and a fundamental tool for politicians to connect with voters and win elections.
“Zuckerberg and Facebook say it’s the 21st-century public town square; if so, they should uphold the First Amendment," Coale said. "You can’t have it both ways. They’re like a public utility when it comes to speech.”
Zuckerberg himself said in 2019 that Facebook and Instagram are the "digital equivalent of a town square."
In the preceding injunction, Trump’s legal team claimed that by “cutting him off from the most effective and direct forms of communication with potential voters,” Facebook is “threatening irreparable damage to the Republican Party’s prospects in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”
It also says that Trump faces irremediable harm and significant losses due to being severed from his benefactors and merchandising platforms as well as his capacity to express his views and support local candidates.
In the original class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook in July, Trump represents a larger group of people allegedly unjustly censored by inappropriate content moderation policies devised by the government and Big Tech working together.
"Big Tech companies are being used to impose illegal and unconstitutional government censorship," alleges the suit, which it claims is occurring due to Democrats in Congress "coerc[ing] platforms into censoring their political opponents."
Trump said this "coercion and coordination" between Big Tech companies and the government is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress cannot use private actors to achieve what the Constitution prohibits it from doing itself.