Section 230 Ends Another Suspended Twitter User’s Lawsuit–Zhang v. Twitter

I’m blogging this ruling mostly for completeness. I’ve blogged so many pro se lawsuits by suspended Twitter users and they all end the same. This one doesn’t break any new ground.

Apparently, the plaintiff Taiming Zhang used his Twitter account to repeatedly complain about another Twitter user (@troyejacobsxxx, now apparently tweeting at @troyejacobs–VERY NSFW) for committing various misdeeds. Twitter suspended Zhang account for allegedly breaching its TOS. Zhang sought a TRO ordering Twitter to restore his account. The court rejects the request.

The court treats this as an easy Section 230 case:

While it is difficult to discern Plaintiff’s precise legal claims from his 125-page complaint, he appears to allege defamation, fraud, emotional distress, and contract-based claims following the suspension of his account and the alleged failure to suspend the third-party user’s account. Plaintiff’s claims thus seek to treat Twitter as a publisher…

it is likely Twitter is immune under Section 230(c)(1) from Plaintiff’s claims arising from Twitter’s decisions regarding suspension of his account and its decisions regarding the third-party user’s account.

Zhang also claimed that Twitter didn’t adequately address the allegations that the targeted account had engaged in federal CSAM violations. The court says that the cited statutes all lack private causes of action, plus 230 preempts civil claims based on federal criminal statutes (cite to Gonzalez v. Google).

Case citation: Zhang v. Twitter Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100221 (N.D. Cal. June 8, 2023)