Taylor v. Twitter Press Release


Jared Taylor and American Renaissance Sue Twitter for Censorship

Case could end social media silencing of dissident voices.

Contact: Henry Wolff

Jared Taylor and his organization American Renaissance have sued Twitter for permanently suspending their accounts. The suit, filed in Superior Court of California — San Francisco District, argues that Twitter took this action only because it disagreed with the content of their tweets, not because Taylor or American Renaissance violated the company’s terms of service.

This suit could stop the highly controversial practice by social media companies of banning users simply because they do not like what those users say. It could force Twitter to act according to its top corporate value: “We believe in free expression and think every voice has the power to impact the world.”

This suit is about freedom of speech. It notes that the California Constitution guarantees that “every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects.” The California Supreme Court has ruled that this guarantee applies to participants in privately owned public forums, of which Twitter is clearly an example.

This suit is also about contract enforcement. Twitter claims that it suspended the accounts in accordance with its “terms of service.” However, Twitter repeatedly and unilaterally changed its terms of service during the six years Taylor and American Renaissance were using the platform, and finally suspended the accounts on the newly-invented pretext that they were “affiliated with a violent extremist group.” Not even the harshest critics of Taylor and American Renaissance have ever alleged any affiliation with violence.

The accounts never engaged in “trolling,” vituperation, or abusive language. For the six years that Taylor and American Renaissance operated the accounts, they always practiced gentlemanly debate and respectful disagreement — and they urged others to do the same.

This suit is also about property rights. Taylor and American Renaissance spent countless hours building up tens of thousands of followers, which, according to Twitter’s own internal valuations, were worth as much as $250,000. By suspending the accounts, Twitter destroyed those assets without compensation.

Taylor and American Renaissance fully recognize Twitter’s right to suspend accounts that are used to threaten and harass other users. However, Twitter has capriciously enforced vague “terms of service” for the sole purpose of silencing voices with which it disagrees. This is censorship. It is the spirit that leads to dictatorship. This is precisely what the California Constitution forbids.

Taylor and American Renaissance are represented by Marc Randazza, who has litigated many prominent free-speech cases; Adam Candeub, an expert in communications law and a professor at Michigan State University College of Law; and Noah Peters, a Washington, D.C.-based litigator. These experienced attorneys have taken our case because they believe freedom of speech requires that Twitter allow users it disagrees with to share their views respectfully on its public forum.

The full complaint is available here.