MASHABLE.COM: Charles C. Johnson Sues Twitter for Banning Him in 2015
01/09/18 - Mashable.com
BY KERRY FLYNN
Twitter has been praised by many for promoting free speech, but not by Charles C. Johnson.
On Monday, the right-wing activist sued Twitter, alleging the company violated his right to free speech by banning him from the platform.
Of course, that's a hard argument to make given that Twitter is also protected by the first amendment and as an internet publisher can choose to terminate accounts. Twitter is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Johnson seems aware of the potential hole in his lawsuit, which he filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco with attorney Robert E. Barnes.
“You can lose a lawsuit and still win the argument,” Johnson told BuzzFeed on Monday.
Johnson's main argument is Twitter banned him based on his political views. The news of the lawsuit comes shortly after former Google engineer James Damore filed a class action lawsuit, alleging similar reasoning for his firing from the tech giant last year.
Johnson's suit argues that Twitter's decision to ban him was not made in "good faith," as is required in Section 230.
Johnson previously reported for Breitbart. He later created crowdfunding website WeSearchr, which was used by Andrew Anglin, founder of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. He also owns the website GotNews.com.
Back in May 2015, Twitter had permanently suspended Johnson after tweets about raising money to "take out" Deray Mckesson, a civil rights activist who frequently uses Twitter and social media. It wasn't his first violation on the platform either. He had been suspended for doxxing a user, posting photos and the address of an individual who he claimed was exposed to Ebola.
Several BuzzFeed reports showed that Twitter rules are not exactly understood and agreed upon by each of the company's executives.
“We perma suspended Chuck Johnson even though it wasn't direct violent threats. It was just a call that the policy team made,” Tina Bhatnagar, Twitter’s VP of user services, wrote in an email to executives, leaked by BuzzFeed.
Johnson's lawsuit is seeking millions of dollars for damages to his career and businesses.
Twitter declined to comment.