Alt Right ‘Journalist’ Who’s Lost Every Lawsuit Over Banned Accounts Files Another Lawsuit Over Banned Accounts
from the failboat-sets-sail-again dept
Laura Loomer still thinks she can sue her way back onto Facebook and Twitter. In support of her argument, she brings arguments that failed in the DC Appeals Court as well as a bill for $124k in legal fees for failing to show that having your account reported is some sort of legally actionable conspiracy involving big tech companies.
For this latest failed effort, she has retained the “services” of John Pierce, co-founder of a law firm that saw plenty of lawyers jump ship once it became clear Pierce was willing to turn his litigators into laughingstocks by representing Rudy Giuliani and participating in Tulsi Gabbard’s performative lawsuits.
Laura Loomer has lobbed her latest sueball into the federal court system and her timing could not have been worse. Her lawsuit against Twitter, Facebook, and their founders was filed in the Northern District of California (where most lawsuits against Twitter and Facebook tend to end up) just four days before this same court dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit [PDF] alleging his banning by Twitter violated his First Amendment rights.
Trump will get a chance to amend his complaint, but despite all the arguments made in an attempt to bypass both the First Amendment rights of Twitter (as well as its Section 230 immunity), the court’s opinion suggests a rewritten complaint will meet the same demise.
Plaintiffs’ main claim is that defendants have “censor[ed]” plaintiffs’ Twitter accounts in violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution… Plaintiffs are not starting from a position of strength. Twitter is a private company, and “the First Amendment applies only to governmental abridgements of speech, and not to alleged abridgements by private companies.”
The lawsuit wastes most of its pages saying things that are evidence of nothing. It quotes several news reports about social media moderating efforts, pointing out what’s already been made clear: it’s imperfect and it often causes collateral damage. What the 133 pages fails to show how sucking at an impossible job is a conspiracy against Loomer in particular, which is what she needs to support her RICO claims.
The lawsuit begins with the stupidest of opening salvos: direct quotes from Florida’s social media law, which was determined to be unconstitutional and blocked by a federal judge last year. It also quotes Justice Clarence Thomas’ idiotic concurrence in which he made some really dumb statements about the First Amendment and Section 230 immunity. To be sure, these are not winning arguments. A blocked law and a concurrence are not exactly the precedent needed to overturn decades of case law to the contrary.
It doesn’t get any better from there. There’s nothing in this lawsuit that supports a conspiracy claim. And what’s in it ranges from direct quotes of news articles to unsourced claims thrown in there just because.
For instance, Loomer’s lawsuit quotes an authoritarian’s George Soros conspiracy theory as though that’s evidence of anything.
On or about May 16, 2020, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian Government called Defendant Facebook’s “oversight board” not some neutral expert body, but a “Soros Oversight Board” intended to placate the billionaire activist because three of its four co-chairs include Catalina Botero Marino, “a board member of the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, funded by Open Society Foundations” — Soros’s flagship NGO — and Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Prime Minister of Denmark, who is “unequivocally and vocally anti- Trump” and serves alongside Soros and his son Alexander as trustee of another NGO, and a Columbia University professor Jamal Greene who served as an aide to Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) during Justice Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation Hearings.
Or this claim, which comes with no supporting footnote or citation. Nor does it provide any guesses as to how this information might violate Facebook policy.
Defendant Facebook allows instructions on how to perform back-alley abortions on its platform.
Loomer’s arguments don’t start to coalesce until we’re almost 90 pages into the suit. Even then, there’s nothing to them. According to Loomer, she “relied” on Mark Zuckerberg’s October 2019 statement that he didn’t “think it’s right for tech companies to censor politicians in a democracy.” This statement was delivered five months after Facebook had permanently banned Loomer. Loomer somehow felt this meant she would have no problems with Facebook as long as she presented herself as a “politician in a democracy.”
In reliance upon Defendant Facebook’s promised access to its networks, Plaintiffs Candidate Loomer and Loomer Campaign raised money and committed significant time and effort in preparation for acting on Defendant Facebook’s fraudulent representation of such promised access to its network.
On or about November 11, 2019, Loomer Campaign attempted to set up its official campaign page for Candidate Loomer as a candidate rather than a private citizen.
On November 12, 2019, Defendant Facebook banned the “Laura Loomer forCongress” page, the official campaign page for Candidate Loomer, from its platform, and subsequently deleted all messages and correspondence with the campaign.
On page 94, the RICO predicates begin. At least Loomer and her lawyer have saved the court the trouble of having to ask for these, but there’s still nothing here. The “interference with commerce by threats or violence” is nothing more than noting that Facebook, Google, and Twitter hold a considerable amount of market share and all deploy terms of service that allow them to remove accounts for nearly any imaginable reason. No threats or violence are listed.
The “Interstate and Foreign Transportation in Aid of Racketeering Enterprises” section lists a bunch of content moderation stuff that happened to other people. “Fraud by Wire, Radio, or Television” consists mostly of Loomer reciting the law verbatim before suggesting Facebook and Procter & Gamble “schemed” to deny her use of Facebook or its ad platform. Most of the “fraud” alluded to traces back to Zuckerberg saying Facebook would allow politicians and political candidates to say whatever they wanted before deciding that the platform would actually moderate these entities.
There’s also something in here about providing material support for terrorism (because terrorists use the internet), which has never been a winning argument in court. And there’s some truly hilarious stuff about “Advocating Overthrow of Government” which includes nothing about the use of social media by Trump supporters to coordinate the raid on the US Capitol building, but does contain a whole lot of handwringing about groups like Abolish ICE and other anti-law enforcement groups.
All of this somehow culminates in Loomer demanding [re-reads Prayer for Relief several times] more than $10 billion in damages. To be fair, the ridiculousness of the damage demand is commensurate with the ridiculousness of the lawsuit. It’s litigation word soup that will rally the base but do nothing for Loomer but cost her more money. Whatever’s not covered by the First Amendment will be immunized by Section 230. There’s no RICO here because, well, it’s never RICO. This is stupid, performative bullshit being pushed by a stupid, performative “journalist” and litigated by a stupid, performative lawyer. A dismissal is all but inevitable.