Republican Rep. Devin Nunes claims that Twitter is punishing conservatives and hiding right-wing views — and that the social media site allowed accounts to defame him without consequence.
Nunes (R-Calif.) filed a lawsuit in Virginia state court Monday against Twitter, as well as several accounts including one called “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and one called” Devin Nunes’ cow,” according to documents acquired by Fox News.
The lawmaker accuses the social media site of “explicit censorship of viewpoints with which it disagrees” and “shadow-banning conservatives” by “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” and “by completely ignoring lawful complaints about offensive content and by allowing that content to remain accessible to the public.”
Among Nunes’ individual complaints was an account identifying as “Liz Mair,” which accused the politician of knowingly investing in a winery that “allegedly used underage hookers to solicit investment.” She also posted a Fresno Bee article about the same winery in May 2018, titled “A yacht, cocaine, prostitutes: Winery partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraiser event.”
“At all times relevant to this action, Mair harbored spite, ill-will, actual malice, and a demonstrated desire to injure Nunes’ good name and reputation,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit also lists Mair’s “boutique communications and public relations firm,” Mair Strategies.
Another account listed was @DevinNunesMom, which has since been suspended.
“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 lawsuit alleges, pointing out tweets that called him worse than Jacob Wohl and accused him of having “white supremist friends.”
The lawsuit also lists accounts including @DevinCow, @FireDevinNunes and @DevinGrapes, “whose sole purpose was (and is) to publish and republish (tweet and retweet) false and defamatory statements about Nunes.”
Those three accounts are all still active on Twitter.
As for the alleged “shadow-banning,” Nunes accused Twitter of trying to “restrict his free speech and to amplify the abusive and hateful content published and republished by Mair, Devin Nunes’ Mom, Devin Nunes’ cow, Fire Devin Nunes, Devin Nunes Grapes, and others.”
The California politician claims that the social media site’s actions, as well as its refusal to enforce its Terms and Rules, “caused Nunes to lose support amongst voters.”
President Trump has similarly latched onto the same idea, calling it “not good” in July 2018 after a Vice News report that alleged that Twitter “is limiting the visibility of prominent Republicans in search results.”
“We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once!” the President tweeted. “Many complaints.”
After the Vice article was published, Twitter said it had adjusted its platform and was no longer limiting conservative voices.
In front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said his site doesn’t punish based on politics.
“We don’t consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions. Period,” he said.
“Impartiality is our guiding principle.”
A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment on Nunes’ lawsuit when reached by the Daily News.
Nunes is requesting $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.
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