Twitter Defeats Account Suspension Case–Craft v. Musk

Are sheeple a resource in Settlers of Catan?

The opinion summarizes the allegations:

Defendants Twitter, Inc. and its CEO, Elon Musk, violated his First Amendment rights by blocking his Twitter account twice, for a period of seven days each, in February and March 2023. According to Plaintiff, he “didn’t threaten anybody’s lives or call for mass destruction of any kind on [his] Twitter post” but was simply “trying to wake up the sheeple that cannot see the destruction that Elon musk, the world economic forum, world health organization, center for disease control, social media, news, and corrupt government are creating for our once ‘civilized’ society.”

I’m surprised the plaintiff didn’t mention the devastation caused by the woke mind virus, but I’m probably one of the sheeples he’s concerned about. The summary continues:

Plaintiff seeks $5 billion in damages and asks the Court to seize “all assets of Elon Musk and the Twitter platform … until the outcome of this complaint.”

Musk’s assets keep shrinking by the minute, so the plaintiff better hurry up.

In the complaint, the plaintiff added: “My personal voice freedom of speech and freedom to protest have been silenced by Elon musk and his platform. My voice, and freedom has been taken from me.” I wonder if the plaintiff knows that Musk is a self-styled free speech absolutist who would never do such a thing?

As usual, the First Amendment claim goes nowhere. “Action temporarily blocking Plaintiff’s account by Twitter, which is a private company, and its CEO, Elon Musk, is not government action.” Cite to Berenson v. Twitter.

None of the exceptions to the general rule apply here:

  • no allegations that “Twitter or Musk’s actions involved the exercise of any power exclusively reserved to the state”
  • no allegations that “Twitter or Musk conspired in any way with the state or its agents”
  • no allegations of government coercion or encouragement
  • no allegations of government nexus

Even if the state action claim was tenable, the court says Section 230(c)(2)(A) would protect Twitter. ‘Plaintiff would need to allege facts that raise a plausible inference that in blocking his account, Twitter did not act in good faith.” This raises the complicated question of if/when government actors can invoke Section 230(c)(2)(A). If they are required to follow the First Amendment, then Congress cannot override those constitutional obligations by statute. No matter, though, because there is no chance of the plaintiff making the state action arguments stick.

For a roundup of failed account termination and content removal cases, see this article.

Case citation: Craft v. Musk, 2023 WL 2918739 (N.D. Cal. April 12, 2023). The complaint. Great line from the complaint: “We can let this be a lesson to all the billionaires across the world.” A reminder that Craft asked for $5B in damages, so he wants to join the club that needs to be taught a lesson…?

Bonus: the plaintiff’s name “Christopher Craft” made me think of:

Selected Posts About State Action Claims