Trump loses bid to keep lawsuit against Twitter suspension in Florida

Judge rules that Donald Trump must abide by Twitter’s terms of service and sue in California

Maroosha Muzaffar
Thursday 28 October 2021 12:31
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Related: Donald Trump to launch social network ‘Truth Social’ next month

Donald Trump lost his bid against Twitter after a district judge in Miami ordered that the former president will have to abide by the social media company’s terms of service and file a lawsuit in  California.

On Tuesday, Judge Robert Scola said in a written order that Mr Trump was bound by a “forum selection clause” in the social media company’s terms of service, which basically means that certain lawsuits against Twitter can only be heard by a federal judge in California.

Twitter permanently suspended Mr Trump’s account in January for falsely alleging election fraud in the 2020 US presidential elections. Just two days before that, Twitter had temporarily locked him out and warned him that he would be banned for good if he continued to incite violence.

He was banned from several social media platforms in January for his role in the 6 January US Capitol riot, when a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress in an effort to stop the certification of president Joe Biden’s election victory, leaving five people dead.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, John Coale, had said that his Twitter account was a “public forum” and “government entity,” and hence it wasn’t covered under Twitter’s forum selection clause, Reuters reported.

But Mr Scola rejected this argument and said that the forum selection clause was “valid and mandatory” and that Mr Trump’s “former status as the president of the United States does not preclude the application of the forum selection clause”.

The lawyer said after Tuesday’s order that they had expected it. “We thought this was a long shot from the beginning. We expected there was a decent shot we would end up in California,” Mr Coale said.

The former president had sued Twitter in July accusing the social media platform of muzzling conservative, right-wing voices.

Last week, Mr Trump announced plans to launch his own social networking site called “Truth Social.” It will be owned by Trump Media & Technology Group and is expected to begin its beta launch for “invited guests” next month. The platform will be officially launched in the US during the first quarter of 2022.

“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech. We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” Mr Trump said in a press release on 20 October.

The move is considered significant and is being seen as Mr Trump’s attempt to reclaim his social media dominance. Several commentators also suggested that he was gearing up for another presidential run in 2024.

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