Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton, alleging he's using his office to harass it for banning Trump

click to enlarge Ken Paxton catches a limo ride with Donald Trump. - Twitter / @KenPaxtonTX
Twitter / @KenPaxtonTX
Ken Paxton catches a limo ride with Donald Trump.
Twitter has sued embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, alleging that he's using his office to retaliate against the social media giant for banning President Donald Trump in the wake of the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Paxton, a Republican and fervent Trump supporter, announced an investigation into Twitter and other social media companies in January, claiming they were silencing conservative voices on their platforms. As part of the probe, he demanded Twitter cough up internal documents, including its policies on banning users.

Twitter's suit, filed in federal court in Northern California, seeks a temporary restraining order to stop Paxton from demanding internal documents. The social media company argues that its decision to remove users is protected by First Amendment rights to fee speech.

“Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees,” it states in the suit.

Republicans in nearly half of U.S. states have introduced bills allegedly intended to halt "censorship" of conservatives' online posts. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced his support for a similar measure in the Texas Legislature.

Under pressure from critics, social media companies have made recent efforts to rein in hate speech and disinformation on their platforms — a move they said isn't intended to stop conservatives from expressing themselves.

Paxton's investigation also includes Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services and Apple, suggesting the AG could be fighting a multi-front war as he attempts to duke it out with Silicon Valley.

Simultaneously, Paxton is under legal fire of his own after former aides from his office sued for retaliation, claiming he fired them for going to authorities with allegations that he engaged in bribery and abuse of office. The AG is also battling felony securities fraud allegations in a prolonged court case.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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