Conservative activists Freedom Watch and Laura Loomer will ask an appellate court to reconsider claims that Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple violated the First Amendment and antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress conservative views, according to new court papers.
Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Loomer and Freedom Watch didn't show how the tech companies could have violated the First Amendment -- which generally prohibits censorship by the government.
“Freedom Watch’s First Amendment claim fails because it does not adequately allege that the platforms can violate the First Amendment,” the judges wrote.
Late last week, Loomer and Freedom Watch said they plan to ask the entire D.C. Circuit to reconsider the matter, and asked the court to extend their deadline for making the request until July 6.
The legal battle dates to last April, when Loomer and Freedom Watch alleged in a lawsuit that Google, Apple, Twitter and Facebook conspired “to re-craft the nation into their leftist design.”
Freedom Watch alleged that it experienced a large drop in YouTube viewers after the platforms started “suppressing and censoring” Freedom Watch's content.
Loomer was banned by Twitter in 2018 after she allegedly violated the platform's rules against hate speech in a tweet criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Soon after Twitter took action, Facebook also suspended Loomer for 30 days.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden in the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit last year, ruling that only the First Amendment only constrains “state actors” -- meaning government entities -- from engaging in censorship.
Freedom Watch and Loomer appealed to the D.C. Circuit, where they argued that the web companies should be considered “state actors.”
The appellate panel rejected that contention, writing that merely providing a forum for speech doesn't transform private companies into state actors.