Trump asks judge in Florida to force Twitter to restart his account
Former U.S. president says social media giant was 'coerced' by members of Congress
Former U.S. president Donald Trump asked a federal judge in Florida on Friday to ask Twitter to restore his account, which the company removed in January citing a risk of incitement of violence.
Trump filed a request for a preliminary injunction against Twitter in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, arguing the social media company was "coerced" by members of the U.S. Congress to suspend his account.
Twitter and several other social media platforms banned Trump from their services after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot on Jan. 6.
That assault followed a speech by Trump in which he reiterated false claims that his election loss in November was because of widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.
Twitter "exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate," Trump's lawyers said in the filing. The filing was reported earlier by Bloomberg.
Twitter declined to comment on the filing when contacted by Reuters.
At the time of removing Trump's account permanently, Twitter said his tweets had violated the platform's policy barring "glorification of violence." The company said at the time that Trump's tweets that led to the removal were "highly likely" to encourage people to replicate what happened in the Capitol riots.
Before he was blocked, Trump had more than 88 million followers on Twitter and used it as his social media megaphone.
In the court filing, Trump argued Twitter allowed the Taliban to tweet regularly about their military victories across Afghanistan, but censored him during his presidency by labelling his tweets as "misleading information" or indicating they violated the company's rules against "glorifying violence."
Trump was also suspended from Facebook and Google's YouTube over similar concerns that he would provoke violence. Facebook's ban will last two years, until Jan. 7, 2023, after which the company will review his suspension. YouTube's ban is indefinite.
In July, Trump filed lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against all three tech companies and their CEOs, claiming that he and other conservatives have been wrongfully censored. The motion for a preliminary injunction was filed as part of Trump's case against Twitter.
With files from The Associated Press