Devin Nunes sues Twitter over conservative ‘shadow bans‘

By – The Washington Times – Updated: 6:36 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 2019

has a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter accusing the social-media giant of engaging in defamation against himself and other conservatives.

According to the complaint filed Monday in Virginia state court, Twitter has engaged in ideologically biased “shadow bans” of conservatives while “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.”

The suit also names political strategist and two other Twitter accounts — and .

The suit seeks $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

Social-media content providers have been seen as immune from defamation lawsuits. But ’s legal theory is that by curating its content aggressively and banning certain users over the content of their speech, that the service is now not a mere conduit, which would make it immune, but a media outlet with an editorial point-of-view, which can be sued for defamation.

“Twitter created and developed the content at issue in this case by transforming false accusations of criminal conduct, imputed wrongdoing, dishonesty and lack of integrity into a publicly available commodity used by unscrupulous political operatives and their donor/clients as a weapon,” wrote in the complaint, which was posted online.

defamed the California Republican, according to the legal papers, in tweets that “implied that colluded with prostitutes and cocaine addicts, that does cocaine, and that was involved in a ‘Russian money laundering front.’”

said on Twitter that  she is “ on this for now” but asked her Twitter followers to contribute a crowdsourced legal-expenses fund.

The account “maliciously attacked every aspect of ‘ character, honesty, integrity, ethics and fitness to perform his duties as a United States Congressman,” the filing says, accusing Twitter of complicity by ignoring the fake account and ’s complaints about it.

“Twitter did nothing to investigate or review the defamation that appeared in plain view on its platform. Twitter consciously allowed the defamation of to continue. As part of its agenda to squelch ‘ voice, cause him extreme pain and suffering, influence the 2018 Congressional election, and distract, intimidate and interfere with ‘ investigation into corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election, Twitter did absolutely nothing,” ‘ attorneys wrote.

The complaint accuses Twitter of “shadow-banning” — making his tweets invisible to all but diligent users — over his complaining about and the two fake accounts.

On Monday evening, the account had been suspended but was still active.

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