US Rep. Devin Nunes sues Twitter, users for defamation and negligence

US Rep. Devin Nunes sues Twitter, users for defamation and negligence

In a $250 million lawsuit against the website and some of its users, including the "Cow" and "Mom" accounts, the California lawmaker accuses Twitter of ignoring complaints about defamatory material, the Verge reports.

Nunes is seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages in a lawsuit that assigns a significant amount of blame to Twitter for what it allows, and does not allow, on the site.

Legal analysts have largely maintained that internet platforms such as Twitter are not liable for most content posted by third parties, but the Nunes lawsuit claims Twitter was negligent and failed to enforce its own terms of service.

Nunes' suit also accuses Twitter of censoring "viewpoints with which it disagrees" and "shadow-banning conservatives".

"Twitter is not a neutral platform such as an Internet bulletin board".

"I think this is going to be one of those action-forcing events, it's calling Twitter, and more broadly these social platforms, into the age of accountability", Starr said on "America's Newsroom". Twitter consciously allowed the defamation of Nunes to continue.

Twitter is not the only Silicon Valley tech giant to face accusations of liberal bias.

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A spokesperson from Twitter declined to comment.

The lawsuit includes posts Nunes has deemed offensive, including a tweet posted by Mair in May 2018, that alleges Nunes has ties to "prostitutes and cocaine addicts". Twitter did not review the account until this year.

This is a tweet Devin Nunes included in his complaint.

Mr Nunes says that the the accounts @LizMair, @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow led a coordinated smear campaign against him - although fringe accounts such as @fireDevinNunes and @DevinGrapes also dished up insults. "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". The malicious, false and defamatory statements and relentless attacks on Nunes' reputation did not stop after he won the Congressional election in 2018.

Shadow banning is the act of suppressing or burying online content so that it is effectively inaccessible to the public, without actually blocking or suspending a user's account.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged that the company's user bans have been too aggressive in some cases.

Testifying before Congress in September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated that Twitter doesn't make decisions based on "political ideology", adding that it wouldn't make business sense for Twitter to dump large groups of Republicans, and calling the platform a new-age "public square" where nearly anything should be allowed to be said.

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