Our favorite California GOP Congressman Devin Nunes is in the news again, this time for suing Twitter for what he insists is anti-conservative bias, according to Fox News. Nunes will sue the company for $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. The suit also targets several individual Twitter users.
Nunes accuses Twitter, as many conservatives have, of “shadow banning” him because of his political views. He alleges in the suit that the website censored him as a way to influence the 2018 elections.
In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”
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Folks, he’s not wrong! Well, he’s wrong about the Twitter campaign to shut down conservatives, but he’s right that Twitter makes money off of content that’s “abusive, hateful and defamatory!”
“Access to Twitter is essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American Democracy,” Nunes’ complaint states. “A candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship. A presence on Twitter is essential for an individual to run for office or engage in any level of political organizing in modern America. That is because Twitter is not merely a website: it is the modern town square. Twitter is equivalent to the private owner of a public forum who has fully opened its property to the general public for purposes of permitting the public’s free expression and debate. That is, in fact, what Twitter has always claimed to be.”
“Twitter is a machine,” Nunes’ attorney, Steven S. Biss, told Fox News. “It is a modern-day Tammany Hall. Congressman Nunes intends to hold Twitter fully accountable for its abusive behavior and misconduct.”
This is all interesting, and even somewhat reasonable! But the complaint eventually goes off the deep end.
Nunes claims that because of Twitter, he has “endured an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life.”
Nunes’ lawsuit also seeks to make public the identities of several Twitter users who Nunes says have harassed him.
The complaint also named “Devin Nunes’ Mom,” “a person who, with Twitter’s consent, hijacked Nunes’ name, falsely impersonated Nunes’ mother, and created and maintained an account on Twitter (@DevinNunesMom) for the sole purpose of attacking, defaming, disparaging and demeaning Nunes.”
Nunes lawyers’ wrote, “In her endless barrage of tweets, Devin Nunes’ Mom maliciously attacked every aspect of Nunes’ character, honesty, integrity, ethics and fitness to perform his duties as a United States Congressman.” [...]
Another account named as a defendant was “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” or @DevinCow, which purportedly called Nunes a “treasonous cowpoke” and an “udder-ly worthless” criminal. The timing and substance of the tweets, according to Nunes’ team, suggested that Mair was working jointly with @DevinCow and @DevinNunesMom accounts.
Damn, that does sound like unbearable harassment.
Nunes’ goes on to complain that “Twitter did nothing to investigate or review the defamation that appeared in plain view on its platform. Twitter consciously allowed the defamation of Nunes to continue.”
The fact is, nearly every prominent celebrity, politician, or member of the media could make similar complaints about Twitter. And maybe they should! As we’ve seen this week, Twitter is unable to prevent the spread of violent, disturbing content on the platform.
The idea that Twitter shirks its duties when it comes to moderation of harassment is something that few would disagree with. But Nunes is arguing that Twitter harasses and silences conservatives in particular. That’s hard to buy when so many far-right personalities still flourish on the site, and while CEO Jack Dorsey still refuses to take action.
Perhaps this lawsuit, like many others, will go nowhere. Or maybe it’ll help shed some light on Twitter’s abusive practices. In any case, we finally have hope that Devin Nunes Cow will be unmasked.
Update, 8:25 p.m.: