A candidate for Congress from Virginia has filed a lawsuit against Facebook charging the web giant with fraud, deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and more.
And the lawsuit specifically explains how Section 230 of federal law doesn’t provide any protection for Mark Zuckerberg and his corporation because to be protected, the company must have acted in “good faith,” which it hasn’t.
The case was filed by lawyer Jon Moseley on behalf of Chief Petty Officer Jarome Bell, U.S. Navy Ret., who was a Republican candidate for Congress from Virginia’s Second Congressional District.
Bell alleges the company lures people into becoming users, and the rules of the company establish a contract. But then the company fails to provide what it has promised,
“Facebook presents itself falsely as a neutral communications service in which users can talk to each other when recruiting users but then commits a ‘bait and switch’ and in fact conducts itself as a Soviet telephone operator interrupting a phone call, allowing only ideas Mark Zuckerberg wants to propagate to be distributed,” the filing charges.
That alone violates “the California Deceptive Trade Practices Act and California’s Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.”
That fraud, then, “invalidates Facebook’s ability to claim Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996” because “Facebook’s actions are at all times manifestly in bad faith, not in the good faith required under Section 230.”
The complaint continued, “The ultimately creepy behavior of Facebook is incompatible with its promise: To allow we the users to talk to each other just as with the telephone company.”
The company, in fact, specifically promises that it “helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
While he was a congressional candidate in 2020, “Facebook … sought to silence Chief Bell … to prevent the contradiction of the Democrat Party’s political messaging,” the complaint charges.
After all, “Recent documentary revelations in the news have exposed that Facebook in fact colluded with Democrat Party operatives, candidates, and campaigns, including that of then candidate Joe Biden.”
The company “entices private individuals to supply their own content to the Facebook community by making (and then breaking) the promise that individuals can have their own opinions, comments, and messages be heard,” the accusations continue.
Those signing up are promised “the opportunity … to be able to post the member’s own opinions and thoughts and to be heard by all other members, especially by those who have chosen to link to the member’s page…”
And read correctly, Section 230 allows Facebook to address material that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing,” but not to act against posts or comments if they are not related to “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing” material.
“Even if Facebook were qualified to decide what is true or false, it is not their business to try to do so,” the filing explains, which means it was unprotected when it censored several of Bell’s posts, which were “accurate and historical warnings explaining his position as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The company censored Bell’s posts, citing its “community standards,” but the filing points out those are changed as often as twice a month, are “arbitrary and capricious” and unenforceable in a contract.
Details of claimed violations are vague and appeal procedures are “somewhat random” as well as “usually hidden.”
And Facebook’s defense sare defeated because it fails to provide review of erroneous adverse actions, fails to identity the reasons for censorship, fails to identity what the standards are and fails to identify the constant changes in standards.
Facebook even removed Bell’s posts for statements that were not found in his posts, the lawsuit charges.
The lawsuit said it expects to find, during discovery, that “Facebook’s unnamed, unaccountable censors do not actually follow Facebook’s promises, policies, community standards, or instructions but are allowed by Facebook management with a wink and a nod to conduct the individual censor’s own individual political war against individual Facebook members, particularly those who are most effective at advancing conservative views.”
But statements advocating violence against whites and defamatory statements about Christians routinely are posted, and allowed, the case said.
One statement, for example, advocated that “white people” be hanged indiscriminately on gallows in Washington and they would be taken down and replaced when “they stink,” until “the last white person in our nations (sic) capital has been exterminated.”
Also promotions of pedophilia, blasphemous images of the crucifixion, and obscene suggestions regarding Melania Trump all were allowed, even after complaints.
“And recall that Facebook officially welcomes members as young as 13 years old.”
The case cites breach of contract, violations of deceptive trade practices bans and breach of implied covenant of good faith, and a deprivation of civil rights.
“Defendants who are not themselves governments or government actors are subject to [federal law] if they are acting under the color of law. Although Facebook is a private company, it is depriving U.S. citizens of the right of free expression as ‘nongovernmental’ discrimination or impairment…”
Just days earlier, President Trump announced a class-action lawsuit against billionaires Mark Zuckerberg, the chief of Facebook; Jack Dorsey, head of Twitter, and Sundar Pichai, CEO for Google, and their companies on behalf of “cancel culture” victims.
The case is being handled by the America First Policy Institute, which explained the case seeks an end to “shadow banning” and “blacklisting” by the companies.
Trump, in making the announcement, said he does not expect a “settlement.”
“We’re going to hold Big Tech very accountable,” he explained. “We are asking the court to impose punitive damages on these social-media giants.”
Social-media companies in the past few years have moved aggressively against conservative voices, commentators, news organizations and more.
They have used their position as near-monopolies to control and eliminate voices with which they disagree, and they claim the right to do so as private companies, exempt from the First Amendment.
However, Trump explained, they’ve been doing so in concert with Democrats in the government across the United States, which would mean they are acting on behalf of the government, which could subject their actions to the First Amendment.
“Congress has repeatedly told big tech, that if they do not silence Democrats’ political opponents, ban prominent conservative voices – I wonder who that would be – and restrict what the left ominously labels as disinformation … and they are the greatest disinformation group of people, ever, ever in the world …” Trump explained.
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