- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 11, 2021

Former President Donald Trump railed at Facebook, Google and Twitter on Sunday in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), claiming the tech companies unduly influenced the 2020 presidential election and continue to silence conservative speech.

“The radical left and Big Tech attack on free speech is unlawful,” he said. “It’s unconstitutional, and it’s completely un-American.”

Mr. Trump claimed during his speech that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg spent $400 million on election meddling in several states and funded “unmanned and unprotected” ballot drop boxes in key swing states.

Mr. Trump also claimed that the tech companies collectively worked to suppress news coverage leading up to the election, citing Twitter and Facebook‘s ban of The New York Post after the outlet published a report exposing Hunter Biden’s disparaging emails recovered from a computer left at a Delaware repair shop.

“The truth was covered up, and it had a giant impact on the election,” Mr. Trump said. “This must never happen to another party’s presidential candidate again. We are the laughingstock of the world.”

Mr. Trump argued that the companies had been “co-opted, coerced, and weaponized by government” to become the enforcers of illegal censorship when announcing his lawsuit earlier this week.

“We are taking Mark ‘Zuckerbucks’ and Jack Dorsey, and other Silicon Valley billionaires to federal court,” the former president said. “And we will keep on fighting until we have stopped this assault on our liberties. And until we have restored the sacred right to freedom of speech for every single American.”

Mr. Trump announced last week that he is suing Facebook, Google and Twitter in a class-action lawsuit for banning him from their platforms.

His lawsuit is being supported by the conservative think tank, America First Policy Institute, led by former White House domestic policy council director, Brooke Rollins.

The American Conservative Union, CPAC’s organizer, announced earlier this week that they will join Mr. Trump’s litigation.

“This lawsuit will break the stranglehold Big Tech has over our freedom to speak,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, in a statement.

Twitter, Facebook and Google are all private companies, and users must agree to their terms of service to use their products. Under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, social media platforms are allowed to moderate their services by removing posts that, for instance, are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, so long as they are acting in “good faith.” The law also generally exempts internet companies from liability for the material that users post.

In his speech Sunday, Mr. Trump also took aim at the Biden administration’s border policies, the nationwide rise in crime and continued his claims of a stolen 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has yet to announce whether he plans to run for president in 2024, though he has stated that he has made his decision. 

• Ryan Lovelace contributed to this article, which also includes wire service reports.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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