Another Failed Lawsuit Over Trump’s Deplatforming–Rutenberg v. Twitter

Rutenberg sued Twitter for deplatforming Trump because it deprived her of reading material she wanted. (In drafting this post, I tried to come up with a joke based on the prior sentence, but it’s already peak humor without any embellishment). She tried the standard pro-censorship Twitter-is-a-state-actor tactic and got the same outcome as everyone else. The district court took only 3 paragraphs to reject the claim. An equally short memo opinion from the Ninth Circuit rejected the appeal.

The panel states simply: “She did not allege sufficient facts to infer that [Twitter] engaged in state action when the company moderated or suspended the former President’s Twitter account” because…

  • there wasn’t a sufficient nexus between Twitter and the government. Twitter made its decision based on its editorial discretion. Also, Twitter wasn’t taking a joint action with the President at the time (he was being involuntarily deplatformed). “Indeed, it would be ‘ironic’ to conclude that Twitter’s imposition of sanctions against a public official—sanctions the official ‘steadfastly opposed’—is state action.” CUE ALANIS MORISSETTE.
  • “moderating speech on the Twitter platform is not ‘an activity that only governmental entities have traditionally performed.'”

That’s it. End of opinion. I wish it also meant the end of the case, but I suspect it’s onto SCOTUS instead. Justice Thomas, can you hear Rutenberg’s pleas?

Case citation: Rutenberg v. Twitter Inc., No. 21-16074 (9th Cir. May 18, 2022)

Selected Posts About State Action Claims