Court Nopes Another Lawsuit Over Facebook Suspensions–Orders v. Facebook

Plaintiff Frank Orders “posted a picture of Hunter Biden with two prostitutes on his Facebook page. The black-and-white picture attached to the Complaint shows a male lying naked on a bed with two naked females sitting on top of the male.” Facebook suspended his account for 24 hours. It appears Facebook suspended Orders a second time for a possibly racist post about Georgia’s voter ID law. Orders sued Facebook for defamation and deprivation of his Constitutional rights. Facebook no-showed. The court nevertheless denies Orders’ default judgment.

(Note: the last name “Orders” can create confusion when blogging about court proceedings).

Defamation. The defamation claim is based on the suspension notice that Facebook allegedly posted on Orders’ page. The court can’t resolve if the notice was displayed to any third parties, or just to Orders. Furthermore,

Facebook stated that Orders had violated its policy on posts containing nudity or sexual activity. The fact that the suspension was for this reason is a true statement. Further, whether the Biden post actually violated Facebook’s “community standards” is a statement of opinion by Facebook that does not support a defamation claim.

Constitutional Violation. “Courts have refused to find that Facebook and other social media providers are state actors for purposes of being subject to constitutional claims.”

Section 23o. On its own initiative, the court noted Section 230: “Courts have rejected claims like those brought by Orders based on this federal statutory right of social media platforms to police the content on their websites.”

My article (with Jess Miers) regarding account termination/content removal cases will come out imminently, perhaps as early as this week.

Case citation: Orders v. Facebook, Inc., 2021 Ohio Misc. LEXIS 102 (Ohio Ct. Common Pleas Aug. 17, 2021)

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