- Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Facebook and other major tech companies in a new interview.
- He claimed that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “used to come to the White House to kiss my ass.”
- Legal experts say Trump’s lawsuits against the tech companies are flawed and doomed to fail.
Former President Donald Trump lashed out at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during an interview with Fox News host Greg Gutfeld that aired on Thursday.
Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter and booted from Facebook until January 2023 for inciting violence around the Capitol riot, called Zuckerberg and other tech leaders “sick.”
“He used to come to the White House to kiss my ass,” Trump told Gutfeld of Zuckerberg. “And I’d say, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ I have the head of Facebook coming with his lovely wife. And they come and they’d have dinner with me in the White House. And then you see what they do about me and about Republicans and it’s just sort of crazy. But that’s the way the world works.”
In 2019, Trump secretly met with Zuckerberg and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, who’s also a major Republican donor. Earlier this summer, Trump claimed that he would have retaliated against Facebook and “banned” it in the US if the company’s CEO hadn’t reached out to him.
“Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was,” he said at the time.
The former president also claimed that his presence on Twitter transformed the social media site from a “failed operation” to a success. The platform “has become a very boring place” now that he’s not on it, Trump told Gutfeld.
Trump invited “anyone who wants to join” to become a plaintiff in his class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which is owned by Google, over their alleged “silencing” of conservatives on their platforms. The suits argue that the companies should be treated as “state actors” and abide by the First Amendment’s free speech protections, which only apply to the government. They also demand an end to Section 230, a law that protects tech companies from being sued over the content on their platforms.
Legal experts say the lawsuits are doomed to fail, in part as a result of their faulty First Amendment arguments. Rather than violating Trump’s constitutional rights by flagging his posts or banning him, the tech companies exercised their own free speech rights by determining what content they would allow on their platforms. Unlike the government, private entities and individuals are not bound by the First Amendment, although many free speech experts are wary of major companies having so much control over public speech and debate.