Judge dismisses Twitter’s lawsuit against Texas attorney general
A federal judge in California on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Twitter that had sought to block Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) office from allegedly retaliating against the company for its decision to ban former President Trump from the platform.
In a 7-page ruling, the judge said Twitter’s lawsuit was premature because Paxton has not sought to enforce his January records request related to the company’s content moderation policies.
“The court finds Twitter’s lawsuit is premature, and, as such, is subject to dismissal,” wrote U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney, a Clinton appointee.
Twitter banned Trump’s account days after his supporters mounted a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with the company saying that his posts threatened to incite more violence. The Jan. 6 attack had been fueled in part by Trump’s repeated false assertions on social media that the 2020 election had been stolen.
A study by Zignal Labs showed that misinformation related to false election fraud claims fell by 73 percent after Trump and several others were suspended from Twitter and other mainstream social media platforms.
A week after Trump was banned, Paxton issued Twitter a request for information on its “practices regarding what can be posted on its platform,” citing concerns that the social media giant’s policies might run afoul of Texas’ consumer protection laws.
Twitter then sued Paxton in early March, asking the court to block his request. The company alleged that the investigation was issued as a retaliatory measure for its suspension of Trump’s account and said it threatened to chill Twitter’s free speech rights.
In dismissing Twitter’s suit, Chesney found that Paxton lacked the authority to impose sanctions on Twitter if it failed to comply with his records request.