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The former president is suing three of the tech giants.


Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s filed lawsuits accusing Google, Facebook, Twitter and their CEOs of First Amendment violations for alleged censorship.

The three lawsuits, which specifically name Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, come after Trump was banned from major social media platforms earlier this year. FacebookTwitter and Google-owned YouTube booted Trump in the wake of the deadly US Capitol riot on Jan. 6, citing concerns that he would incite more violence. 

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Lawsuits that allege censorship and that argue social media companies violate the First Amendment when they remove posts or ban users have repeatedly been rejected by courts across the country. The First Amendment applies to the government, not to private companies like social media sites. 

Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Center for Business and Human Rights, said Trump’s lawsuits were dead on arrival, noting that the First Amendment doesn’t prevent private companies from moderating content.

“In fact, Facebook and Twitter themselves have a First Amendment free speech right to determine what speech their platforms project and amplify and that right includes excluding speakers who incite violence, as Trump did in connection with the January 6 Capitol insurrection,” Barrett said in a statement. 

During a press conference, Trump said the lawsuits will seek punitive damages and an “immediate halt to social media companies’ illegal, shameful censorship of the American people.” He also cited the platforms’ use of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides legal protections to companies over what gets posted to their sites. The lawsuit is in partnership with the America First Policy Institute. Trump is seeking class action status for the suits. The three separate suits were filed Wednesday with the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division.

“We’re not looking to settle,” Trump said.

Facebook and Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to comment.

Twitter permanently banned Trump in January. YouTube initially suspended Trump in January and later said it would curtail his suspension when the company determined that the “risk of violence has decreased.”

Facebook initially blocked Trump in January but then sent that decision to its oversight board for review. In June, Facebook’s oversight board ruled Trump would be barred from the social network, as well as Instagram, for at least two years. At the end of that period, Facebook will look at whether “violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest” have receded in order to determine if Trump will be allowed to post again.

The tech companies’ decisions to take Trump off their platforms drew criticism from conservatives who say platforms like Facebook and Twitter censor political speech they don’t agree with. Facebook, Twitter and Google have all said that’s not the case. 

Without access to the big-name social networks, Trump supporters have been looking at where else they can gather online. Former Trump senior adviser Jason Miller is reportedly behind a social media app called Gettr that bills itself as a “non-bias social network for people all over the world.” The app was briefly hacked over the weekend.

CNET’s Joan Solsman contributed to this report. 

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Digital payments company Square is now offering checking and savings accounts for small-business customers. On Tuesday, the company unveiled Square Banking, a set of tools for collecting payments, managing banking and viewing cash flow all at once.

“When you take payments and bank through Square, everything is connected. Watch your sales flow directly into Square banking, so accessing and moving your money is fast, easy — and can even be automated,” Square said in a press release.

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Square Banking is the latest expansion by the payments company run by Jack Dorsey, who’s also CEO of Twitter. Last week, Dorsey said Square will create a new business focused on the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, to help developers design decentralized financial products.

The new checking and savings accounts join the company’s lending option, now called Square Loans, as well as the Square debit card, which the company launched in 2019 for business customers. 

The new accounts will let businesses access money they bring in through Square payments, without first having to transfer it to a separate bank account. Square said the new banking accounts don’t have a minimum balance and that there aren’t monthly account fees. 

Square’s checking accounts will be provided by Sutton Bank, which also issues the Square debit card. Square said funds are FDIC-insured.

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With employees expected to start returning to the office in September, Apple is reportedly clamping down even future on remote work. Some Apple employees are saying it’s even harder to get remote work approved now that the company is moving forward with its hybrid plan, according to a report Thursday from The Verge

Apple’s corporate culture is well known throughout Silicon Valley as secretive, often requiring employees to be on site. However, there were some exceptions to this and some teams were more lenient about remote work, according to The Verge. But now, some of these previous exceptions are reportedly being denied. 

In June, Apple told employees it expects them to be in the office at least three days a week. Employees reportedly pushed back on this plan, asking CEO Tim Cook for more flexibility. Apple reportedly dismissed the request and told employees that “in-person collaboration is essential to our culture and our future.”

Some Apple employees have said they plan to quit due to the hybrid work policy, reported The Verge, citing messages in a company Slack channel. 

Apple isn’t the only tech company grappling with plans to return to the office following the COVID-19 pandemic. Google, which similarly is asking most employees to be in office three days a week, has frustrated employees with what they say are inflexible and opaque remote work policies. Last month, Facebook extended remote work options to all of its employee, and Twitter has said all employees will have the option to work from home permanently. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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