Donald Trump filed lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter and Google on Wednesday, accusing the companies of violating his rights and those of other First Amendment conservatives. But winning these lawsuits appears to have nothing to do with Trump.
Legal experts say these are frivolous cases that will likely be thrown out by the courts, but Trump is already using them as a way to raise funds from his supporters. The lawsuits are also a convenient distraction from New York State’s ongoing investigation into his company’s alleged tax fraud, which has been the main story about Trump in the news lately.
This is not the first time that Trump has used this tactic. During his presidency, Trump repeatedly attacked tech companies, even though he greatly benefited from their reach on social media platforms like Twitter, by making unsubstantiated claims that these companies have anti-conservative biases. And while his attempts to penalize the tech industry with unenforceable executive orders, bogus “tech summits,” and vague threats have never seriously interfered with Facebook, Google, or Twitter’s ability to run their businesses, these efforts have served Trump politically. He has won the support of his fans, raised money and dominated the headlines as a crusader against a liberal Silicon Valley. These new demands do not appear to be any different.
At a press conference to announce the lawsuits, a representative from the America First Policy Institute, a pro-Trump nonprofit that filed the lawsuits on behalf of the former president, encouraged anyone interested in joining Trump in his lawsuits. collectives to register on a web page. But if you go to that website, TakeOnBigTech.com, lands on a promotional video that only links to an option to donate money to America First Policy Institution, and does not offer a clear way to sign the lawsuit.
Shortly after announcing the lawsuits, Trump began sending “breaking news alert” text messages directly to his supporters asking them to donate to your PAC Save America.
According to a New York Times reporter who posted it on Twitter, the text message to his followers reads in part:
“Pres Trump: I am SUBMITTING Facebook and Twitter for UNCONSTITUTIONAL CENSORSHIP. For a short time, 5X-IMPACT on all gifts! Donate NOW, ”and has a link to a website that brings donations to the PAC Save America.
In addition to fundraising opportunities, starting a new fight against Big Tech gives Trump supporters something else to focus on besides the headlines about how New York State prosecutors indicted the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg for tax fraud earlier this month. . Prosecutors allege that Weisselberg and Trump’s company failed to pay taxes on $ 1.7 million in indirect compensation to employees. The whole case is part of a larger investigation into the former president’s company; The investigation is expected to expand, potentially becoming more damning for Trump.
In the past, Trump has frequently turned Facebook, Twitter and Google into bogeymen for allegedly displaying anti-conservative biases, but his remarks often served to distract attention from larger political issues. The constant allegations also appeared to put pressure on tech companies, which generally did not enforce their own rules against Trump until the final days of his presidency, when he was banned for inciting violence ahead of the January 6 riots in the United States. Capitol.
Now that Trump is out of office and receiving significantly less media attention, it is unclear if he will be able to sustain this latest publicity crusade against the tech giants. But there’s no question that, for now at least, these lawsuits serve as a welcome break from the news about Trump’s tax-related legal issues, as well as an excellent opportunity to raise some cash.