Journalist Chuck C. Johnson, seen here with Barack’s brother Malik Obama has just filed a lawsuit against the social media company Twitter.
Twitter, which has been patching and updating its unclear terms of service in recent years was recently discovered to have been banning conservatives from the platform without a cause beyond that they were tired of that particular person, and wanted them to go.
When you’re banned from or suspended from Twitter, you are usually alerted as to the reason. If you wrote a tweet that was targeting someone for abuse, then you are asked to delete that tweet before rejoining the platform. If your profile picture breaks the terms of service, then you will be asked to change it. They never seem to get too deep into the details, though, and it turns out that the reason Twitter has such a difficult set of policies that that they’ve admitted that they’ve been making it up as they go along.
So Johnson, who was extremely active during the Presidential election working to broker connections between all different sorts of conservatives working online to elect Trump, is attempting through the courts that Twitter is violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act, as well as federal and Californian laws. Twitter is based in San Francisco and its current CEO is co-founder Jack Dorsey, who has been seeing palling with left wing figures like Deray of the Black Lives Matter movement, and has been greeted at the White House.
The lawsuit alleges that Twitter is “a privately-owned public square,” which has been a line of attack that has been floated by people affiliated with Breitbart in the past. The lawsuit alleges that Johnson, therefore, is having his free speech rights infringed upon and that he should be allowed to use the service.
The lawsuit stems from a leaked series of emails published by Buzzfeed showing last month that internal staffers at Twitter agreed that Johnson had been banned for personal reasons, and that the ban was “not based on any violation’s of Twitter’s terms.”
Twitter had also notably suspended and then banned Milo Yiannopoulos a few years back during a time when I was working for him. At that time, emails sent to the company confirmed that while emails asking for the exact reason as to the ban had been opened over one hundred times, but no answer had been received.
The Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai has called on Twitter to work on their “double standard” which punishes conservatives, and that “Twitter is part of the problem” when it comes to the expectation of a free and open internet.
Personally I believe Twitter will not reverse their ban on Johnson due to the rumor that he has been operating the Twitter account for Malik Obama since its inception. This would be considered ban evasion under most terms of services and might justify the extension of that initial ban.