Former President Donald Trump has requested that a Florida judge issue a preliminary injunction in his case against YouTube that would force the company to reinstate his access to the platform, arguing that a failure to do so would result in irreparable harm to both him as a potential political candidate in the future and the Republican Party as a whole, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.
An injunction would permit Trump to continue selling merchandise on YouTube, an important part of his political fundraising efforts, according to the Post.
Trump’s lawyers said they plan to soon make similar requests in his suits against Facebook and Twitter.
Last month, the former president brought class-action lawsuits against the three big Tech giants requesting unspecified damages for alleged First Amendment violations and also asking federal judges to overturn the immunity protections granted to internet companies in 1996 by declaring Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act unconstitutional.
Trump filed the suits in cooperation with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), which was founded by former members of his administration.
YouTube and the other social media platforms have "inconsistently applied their terms and services and their community standards," AFPI Constitutional Litigation Partnership executive director Katie Sullivan told the Post, claiming that they censor specific voices and thought so that other users only hear one side of a story."
The lawsuit against You Tube argues that banning Trump is a violation of the First Amendment, because the company was persuaded to do so by Democratic Party congressmen.
"President Trump being taken down and the Taliban staying up on Twitter is kind of a perfect example" of the uneven application of the social media companies' own standards, Sullivan said.
Pam Bondi, the former Attorney General of Florida and one of Trump’s defense lawyers in his impeachment trial, told the Post that "for the last few years Americans’ freedom of speech has been slowly eroding due to the actions of big tech companies who have been simultaneously giving the Taliban a platform to spread the truest forms of hate and evil that exist."
Sullivan stressed that while the request for a preliminary injunction only applies to Trump, the class-action suits also serve a much broader group of people who have also been treated unfairly by social media platforms.
The lawsuit said that YouTube’s moves against Trump started on Jan. 6 with the removal of a video about the Capitol attack and led to his indefinite suspension on Jan. 27 over what the company called "the ongoing potential for violence."
Facebook and Twitter both suspended Trump’s accounts on Jan. 7, a day after his protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the congressional certification of the Electoral College results.
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