Court Sides With Twitter After Journalist Was Banned For Saying Men Aren’t Women

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A California court this week ruled in favor of Twitter in a lawsuit that stemmed from the company’s ban of a feminist writer’s account who tweeted that “men aren’t women.” How we got here: Twitter banned Meghan Murphy, a Canadian journalist and founder of Feminist Current, back in 2019 following several tweets that the company said violated its hateful conduct policy. Twitter first locked her out of her account after writing: “How are transwomen not men? What is the difference between a man and a transwoman?” and “Men aren’t women.” The feminist writer deleted her posts and later tweeted: “I’m not allowed to say that men aren’t women or ask questions about the notion of transgenderism at all anymore?” This prompted Twitter to permanently ban her. In response, Murphy sued Twitter. Her lawyer argued that the company wrongly claims that it does not discriminate based on political views. “Twitter has begun silencing individuals and political views they don’t want heard,” Murphy said in November 2018. The story: A California appeals court ruled that Twitter had the right to ban her from the platform in a 42-page opinion by the First District Appellate Court that upholds a previous decision to dismiss the case. The appeals court cited higher courts’ findings that social media sites like Twitter can ban users for certain speech that violate its policies. It also ruled that Twitter’s mission statement to “give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers” does not represent a legal promise. In other words, the court relied on the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 which protects social media giants from liability and the fact that private companies are not restricted by the First Amendment. “Because Murphy has not alleged Twitter ever made a specific representation directly to her or others that they would not remove content from their platform or deny access to their accounts, but rather expressly reserved the right to remove content, including content they determine is harassing or intolerable, and suspend or terminate accounts ‘for any or no reason’ in its terms of service, Murphy cannot plead reasonable reliance on the alleged promises as a matter of law,” Associate Justice Sandra L. Margulies wrote.

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