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Florida federal judge says Trump's former status as a US president doesn't exempt him from Twitter's terms of service

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/27/2021 mloh@businessinsider.com (Matthew Loh)
Former President Donald Trump is suing Twitter for suspending his account. Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images © Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images and James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Imag... Former President Donald Trump is suing Twitter for suspending his account. Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images; James Devaney/GC Images via Getty Images
  • Twitter's terms of service apply to former President Donald Trump, a Florida federal judge said.
  • Trump is suing Twitter and its CEO for suspending his account after the January 6 Capitol attack.
  • A clause in Twitter's agreement requires the lawsuit be moved to California, but Trump's lawyers argued that he's exempt because of his presidency.

On Tuesday, a Florida federal judge ruled that former President Donald Trump's status as a US president doesn't exclude him from Twitter's terms of service, court documents seen by Insider showed.

In July, Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida against Twitter and its CEO over the permanent suspension of his on January 7, a day after the Capitol siege. The suspension was made on the grounds of Trump inciting violence through the platform, Twitter said at the time.

The former president cited censorship concerns in his lawsuit, saying that social-media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google were "silencing" conservative voices and were being coerced by Democratic lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Florida District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. granted Twitter's motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California, as required by a clause in the social-media company's user agreement, which all Twitter users sign.

Trump's attorneys said he was exempt from the clause because he was the sitting president at the time of his account's suspension, and that it was in the public's interest to keep the case in Florida.

They failed to convince Scola. "The Court finds that Trump's status as President of the United States does not exclude him from the requirements of the forum selection clause in Twitter's Terms of Service," he said.

Trump resides with his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Apart from suing Twitter, he's also launched legal action against Facebook and Google, and their CEOs, for barring him from their social-media platforms.

Earlier this month, Trump filed a request for a preliminary injunction to have his Twitter account reinstated, saying that the Taliban was allowed to tweet their military victories in Afghanistan while he was censored.

He announced last week that he would launch his own social-media network, Truth Social, to "stand up to the tyranny of big tech." A report later said that Truth Social had violated a license agreement and ripped off code, and that the platform had 30 days to resolve the violation before it would be sued.

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