Nunes v. Twitter Lawsuit Highlights Online Censorship


By Robert Jonathan

Congressman Devin Nunes is suing Twitter for defamation in a filing that he says is the first of many. Nunes, a California Republican who headed the House Intelligence Committee (which made him a target of the far left or alt left), is seeking money damages totaling $250 million (a trendy number) for defamation from the social media network, among other forms of requested relief.  He also maintains that Twitter shadow-banned him and others.

Although the president has spoken about and tweeted about social network bias, neither the Trump administration or possibly compromised GOP lawmakers collectively have taken any substantive steps to address against social media censorship as yet.

Trending: Twitter Goes Nuts After President Trump Verbally Chastises Juan Williams

Nunes has taken the matter into his own hands.

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Since U.S. Rep. Nunes is a public figure subject to a high bar, it remains to be seen how he will fare in the judicial system.

As expected, media liberals have superficially mocked Nunez for going after parody accounts. His lawsuit perhaps has more important implications, however, in the context of censorship.

Paragraph 28 of the 40-page complaint states as follows:

“Twitter represents that it enforces its Terms and Rules equally and that  it does not discriminate against conservatives who wish to use its ‘public square’. This is not true. This is a lie. Twitter actively censors and shadow-bans conservatives, such as Plaintiff, thereby eliminating his voice while amplifying the voices of his Democratic detractors.”

Paragraph 31:

“Twitter’s actions affected the election results. The combination of the shadow-ban and Twitter’s refusal to enforce its Terms and Rules in the face of clear and present abuse and hateful conduct caused Nunes to lose support amongst voters. Twitter’s actions also detracted from Nunes’ investigation into corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election.”

 

 

The Big Tech a.k.a. Big Social platforms such as Twitter and others have censored or otherwise sidelined mainstream conservative, populist, or libertarian websites, content creators, and/or personalities for vague violations of terms of service.

Methods include algorithm changes, suspensions, permanent bans, shadow-banning, throttling, de-platforming, and/or de-monetization.

Twitter hardly ever suspends leftists or SJWs no matter how abusive their tweets (including violent rhetoric) become, however.

This kind of chicanery is likely to ramp up as the 2020 election approaches.

While Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has claimed that Twitter is an impartial platform akin to the public square as alluded to above, Nunes argues that the Twitter has evolved into a content developer. Filing the case in Virginia state court, rather than at the federal level, is an interesting legal strategy about which we will presumably learn more in the future.

Related Story: New Study Confirms Twitter Censorship

Nunes vs. Twitter

From Fox News:

 

“California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, who has opened a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter alleging that the social media company negligently failed to remove defamatory and malicious tweets against him and his family, told Fox News on Monday that the lawsuit will be ‘the first of many’…

 

“Nunes’ lawsuit accuses Twitter and a handful of its users of ‘shadow-banning conservatives’ — including himself — to influence the 2018 election by censoring opposing viewpoints.

 

“Acknowledging the role that Twitter plays in modern politics, Nunes accused the social media platform of ‘gaslighting” for all of the news and ‘proliferating’ only the content they supposedly agree with.”

 

Nunes also wants Twitter to reveal its algorithms, as he explained in this interview with Hannity.

Dorsey Interview with Rogan

The recent longform appearance by Dorsey and colleague Vijaya Gadde on the Joe Rogan podcast was hardly reassuring to those concerned about the censorship issue or the inconsistent application of rules or standards. Scarcely unusual for Silicon Valley execs generally, the Twitter duo seemed evasive, oblivious, robotic, plus a lot of wish-washy “thank you for the feedback” and “we’ll look into it” type responses. It’s also a tell when someone claims that they don’t know what liberal or conservative means.

 

It was a three-hour interview, and it’s a challenge to get through all of it. Questioner Tim Pool, an independent journalist who describes himself as a liberal/centrist, brought an impressive amount of information to the table. However, his long-winded questions seemed to inadvertently let the Twitter officials off the hook at times. Joe Rogan, a self-defined liberal (other than the Second Amendment) who usually likes to hear himself talk, did pose some good, concise questions.

Pool’s follow-up interview with Dave Rubin seemed a lot more illuminating. Pool told Rubin that in the aftermath of the Rogan episode, he now welcomes government regulation of Twitter.

 

“Twitter is an unelected council of the uber elite millionaires who are dictating what people can or can’t say on one of the most important public platforms in our country, in the world. Who determined they should have that influence over our elections?”

 

 

Did Trump Bust Twitter?

The Gateway Pundit (which admittedly sometimes jumps to conclusions or gets stuff wrong) claims that Trump busted Twitter censorship and analytic manipulation Monday night.

 

The website points out that three Trump tweets with embedded videos received millions of views but relatively few retweets, which it described as “impossible.”

“How does the most popular person in the world get only 11,000 retweets? How does a person with 59 million followers get only a few thousand likes per post?…

“We know through studies that Twitter is targeting pro-Trump Republican lawmakers Matt Gaetz, Devin Nunes, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and John Ratcliffe with the same shadowbanning technique. We also know that Twitter is censoring prominent pro-Trump accounts including: Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, Paul Joseph Watson, TGP’s Jim Hoft, TGP’s Cassandra Fairbanks, former TGP writer Lucian Wintrich, TGP’s Cristina Laila and Laura Loomer. Laura Loomer has since been eliminated from Twitter.

“Many Twitter users suspected President Trump was being censored. It looks like he just proved us right.”

Trump Jr. Weighs In on Expanding Censorship

On The Apprentice, Donald Trump Jr. came across a smug rich kid. Since his dad entered politics, however, Trump Jr. has emerged as perhaps the most effective surrogate for the MAGA agenda.

 

In an extremely well-reasoned Op-Ed published by The Hill, Don recalled how Facebook-owned Instagram censored a post he made about the Jussie Smollett incident.

 

“While nothing about Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives truly surprises me anymore, it’s still chilling to see the proof for yourself. If it can happen to me, the son of the president, with millions of followers on social media, just think about how bad it must be for conservatives with smaller followings and those who don’t have the soapbox or media reach to push back when they’re being targeted?

 

“Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to ‘deboost’ certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives…

 

“Despite the occasional brave gesture, politicians have been far too sluggish in recognizing the extent of the problem…

“Silicon Valley lobbyists have splashed millions of dollars all over the Washington swamp to play on conservatives’ innate faith in the free-market system and respect for private property. Even as Big Tech companies work to exclude us from the town square of the 21st century, they’ve been able to rely on misguided conservatives to carry water for them with irrelevant pedantry about whether the First Amendment applies in cases of social media censorship.”

Will Congress Take Action?

Trump Jr. also notes that U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) if floating legislation requiring a viewpoint neutrality clause to existing law that shields Big Tech companies from liability for user content.

“It’s high time other conservative politicians started heeding Hawley’s warnings, because the logical endpoint of Big Tech’s free rein is far more troubling than conservative meme warriors losing their Twitter accounts. As we’re already starting to see, what starts with social media censorship can quickly lead to banishment from such fundamental services as transportation, online payments and banking.

”Left unchecked, Big Tech and liberal activists could construct a private ‘social credit’ system — not unlike what the communists have nightmarishly implemented in China — that excludes outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives.

“There is no conservative principle that even remotely suggests we are obligated to adopt a laissez-faire attitude while the richest companies on earth abuse the power we give them to put a thumb on the scale for our political enemies.

“If anything, our love of the free market dictates that we must do whatever is necessary to ensure that the free marketplace of ideas remains open to all.”

The above-referenced Project Veritas video is embedded below. Watch it and draw your own conclusions.

A registered independent, Robert Jonathan is a longtime writer/editor for viral news aggregation websites with a focus on politics and other trending topics. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from “a law school the basketball teams can be proud of.”

Follow Robert Jonathan on Twitter @newseditor2010.

 

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