Free-speech lawyers have filed a legal challenge against Twitter’s censorship policies.
In November 2017, Twitter announced that they would ban and sanction verified users based on their offline behavior and associations.
Jared Taylor, the founder and editor of the right-wing journal “American Renaissance,” was one of the many purged by Twitter on Dec. 18, 2017, as the social network followed through on their threat.
“Mr. Taylor has always expressed his views with respect and civility towards those who disagree,” the complaint reads. “He has never engaged in vituperation or name-calling, on Twitter or elsewhere.”
It continued, “Neither Mr. Taylor nor American Renaissance has ever promoted or advocated violence, on Twitter or anywhere else. Indeed. they have urged their followers to maintain a dignified and respectful tone towards those who disagree with them.”
However, both Taylor’s personal account and that of his publication were banned under the explanation that the accounts were “affiliated with violent extremist groups.”
Attorney Noah Peters, one of the people who will be representing Taylor, explained to Breitbart News California’s privately owned public forum doctrine.
“If you’re the functional equivalent of a traditional public forum … even the private company that owns it can’t prohibit common expressive activities completely … they can’t selectively kick people out and allow certain people to speak and not others.”
The lawsuit argues that the privately owned public forum doctrine should be extended “to prevent viewpoint discrimination” because social media platforms are “natural ‘public forums’ in which people exchange ideas.”
Peters explained, “This affects interests that are so much larger than property rights — the ability to participate meaningfully in Democracy, to be able to speak without censorship — which are really fundamental basic rights.”
“In this lawsuit we don’t say that free expression means you have the right to harass and threaten people, and to be disrespectful, or to use obscene language, or to post obscene things,” Peters told Breitbart News. “What they can’t do — and what’s really inimical to free speech — is kicking people off because of their perceived off-platform affiliations and because of their viewpoints.”
The suit became even more relevant when conservatives were reportedly locked out of their account Wednesday during what Twitter claimed to be a crackdown on “bots.”
“This was an attack on Conservatives under the guise of a bot purge,” Mark Pantano Tweeted.
An undercover investigation from Project Veritas revealed in January that several current and former Twitter employees boasted about censoring conservatives on the platform.
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