Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton — alleges he sought to 'punish' platform for banning Trump
Twitter has taken legal action against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, (R) alleging that the top-ranking law enforcement official retaliated against the social network's decision to ban former President Donald Trump after the siege on the U.S. Capitol.
On Monday, March 8, Twitter filed a federal lawsuit filed in a Northern California court. Twitter alleges that Paxton is only investigating the website to "punish" the social media platforms for pushing back against Trump, arguing that its decision to ban the former president is an example of "protected free speech." The network is asking that the judge to suspend Paxton's investigation by categorizing the decision "under the ambit of the First Amendment."
Lawyers for the social network also accused Paxton of abusing his authority to retaliate against it. "Twitter seeks to stop AG Paxton from unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter's exercise of its First Amendment rights," the company wrote.
"Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees," it added
The latest news comes weeks after Paxton's attack on social media networks. In the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol riots, Paxton announced an investigation would be launched into big tech companies for what he believed was "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," according to NBC Philadelphia.
At the time, Paxton "demanded that the companies produce a variety of records related to their content moderation policies and troves of internal communications."
In the wake of his lawsuit filing, he released a statement offering his arguments about the basis of First Amendment rights. "First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive," Paxton said in his statement. "However, the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President of the United States and several leading voices not only chills free speech, it wholly silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies."
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