Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) has sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming that he used his office to retaliate against the company following the ban of former President Donald Trump’s account after the US Capitol riots.
Twitter accuses Paxton of retaliation against the suspension of Trump account
Days after the January insurgence, Paxton announced a probe into the company and four other tech companies for what he referred to as “coordinated de-platform of the president.” The Texas AG’s office demanded the companies to provide various records related to content moderation policies and troves of company communications.
On Monday, Twitter responded with a lawsuit alleging that the Republican was seeking to punish them for suspending Trump’s account which is a decision Twitter claims is protected free speech. The lawsuit requests the decision to be declared under the First Amendment realm and thus halt Paxton’s probe. In the suit filed in a Northern California court, company lawyers indicated that Paxton had indicated that he would use his office include his investigatory powers, to retaliate against the company for making editorial decisions that he doesn’t agree with. Paxton’s office is yet to comment on the development.
Tech companies face a crackdown from lawmakers and government
The counterpunch from Twitter comes when states, federal lawmakers, and various governments crackdown on tech companies, which have amassed a lot of power in the past decade. US tech giants face anti-monopoly and antitrust regulations, internet privacy regulations, and attempts to moderate how social media platforms moderate the content.
Paxton led ten Republican AGs in December to sue Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) for running an illegal digital advertising monopoly in cahoots with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB). Interestingly GOP republicans from over 20 states have introduced bills that will allow for civil suits against social media platforms to censor posts. This means what the sites see as Christian religious or conservative viewpoints censorship. Although there is no evidence of bias by the tech companies against conservatives, there is a narrative among Republican politicians led by President Trump.