Elder Patriot| Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed a lawsuit earlier this afternoon seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users.
In the lawsuit, Nunes alleges defamation, conspiracy, and negligence, and seeks not only damages, but also an injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he says have harassed and defamed him.
Nunes is accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” including himself to influence the 2018 elections, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and totally “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.
Conservatives have been complaining about the censorship of patriotic and pro-Trump posters by Silicon Valley’s social media titans since the 2016 election.
Nunes’ complaint was filed in Virginia state court.
Nunes charged that Twitter efforted to undermine his work on the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) while he was the committee’s chairman.
Under Nunes the HPSCI efforted to expose evidence of unlawful surveillance on political opponents following abuse of the FISA application process by Obama’s intelligence agencies.
Nunes told the court that Twitter was guilty of “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”
Also named in the lawsuit is political strategist Liz Mair and two other Twitter accounts – @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow for unfounded smears against him.
At issue is here is the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that provides immunity from liability for the content on their platforms if they operate strictly as open forums.
Nunes complaint contends that by its actions Twitter crossed the line from an open public forum into the realm of content provider thereby opening itself to legal action for
“knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory.”
You may remember, though no thanks to the mainstream media that remained silent on the CDA issue, Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) grilling of Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter about whether they consider themselves neutral public forums in January of last year.
Twitter was represented at the hearing by Carlo Monje, Director of Public Policy at Twitter in North America.
Under questioning from Cruz, Monje confirmed that Twitter wanted to be protected as a neutral public forum.
Cruz then asked Monje about shadowbanning, a practice whereby the reach of tweets are limited or blocked altogether except to the sender who believes they’re been seen by their followers as normal.
Monje denied the practice even when confronted with a video of Twitter software engineers explaining the procedure.