Former President Donald Trump on Thursday asked a federal judge to force Facebook to reinstate his account.
Mr. Trump‘s lawyers filed for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where the former president is suing Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg over allegations that the company’s ban of Mr. Trump violated the First Amendment.
The motion contends that Facebook “is censoring … a former President of the United States.” It says the social media platform has been “coerced by members of the United States Congress, operating under an unconstitutional immunity granted by a permissive federal statute, and acting directly with federal officials.”
“On January 7, 2021, Defendant indefinitely banned Plaintiff from its platform, a major avenue of public discourse,” Mr. Trump‘s lawyers stated. They said Facebook‘s action also “violates Florida’s newly enacted Stop Social Media Censorship Act.”
Facebook “exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate,” the lawyers wrote.
Facebook first banned Mr. Trump in January for 24 hours after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Zuckerberg then announced that the company would extend the ban for at least two weeks.
In June, Facebook announced that it would extend Mr. Trump‘s ban until at least January 2023, and Mr. Trump sued Facebook in July alongside other tech platforms that restricted his access.
Facebook declined to comment. Last month, Facebook sought to transfer Mr. Trump‘s case from a federal court in Florida to California.