White Nationalist Files Suit Against Twitter

Georgia Wells, Wall Street Journal, February 21, 2018

A prominent white nationalist sued Twitter Inc. for kicking him off the social network, the latest in a spate of legal attacks by members of the far-right claiming tech companies discriminate against their viewpoints and challenging the idea that they operate neutral platforms.

The suit by Jared Taylor, filed Tuesday in state Superior Court in San Francisco, argues that Twitter violated California law protecting free speech in public spaces when it banned Mr. Taylor in December. Twitter told Mr. Taylor by email that it did so under a rule in its user agreement that bars accounts affiliated with organizations that promote violence, according to the suit. Mr. Taylor says he neither advocated violence nor was affiliated with such groups.


Twitter’s rules say it believes in freedom of expression “but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up.”


Noah Peters, the Washington-based attorney representing Mr. Taylor, said his suit doesn’t take issue with Twitter’s need to kick off users who harass others, but he says Mr. Taylor didn’t harass users on Twitter.

Mr. Peters pointed to what he says is precedent in California that privately owned spaces can constitute public forums, and arguing that because Twitter is a public forum, it can’t discriminate against certain views. The California public-space ruling hasn’t previously been applied to the internet, Mr. Peters said.


[Editor’s Note: To find out more about our lawsuit, or to contribute to our legal fund, click here.]

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