Twitter is trying to combat harassment, but it may have gone too far.
That’s the preliminary opinion from a California superior court judge who rejected the social network’s bid to dismiss— meaning Taylor may have his day in court.
Taylor sued Twitter after he was banned by the social network, and is now arguing that the company’s abrupt ban violates his free speech rights, while Twitter argues that Taylor and his group violated the company’s
But judge Harold Kahn is siding with the white nationalist — at least long enough to hear him out. He called it a “classic public interest lawsuit” that “goes to the heart of free speech principles that long precede our constitution,” according to court documents (which you can read at the bottom of this post).
“Now, it may be speech that you and I don’t wish to enjoy, but that’s not germane to the determination of whether it’s public interest,” Kahn told Twitter’s lawyer.
Twitter argued that the company itself has a First Amendment right to decide what kind of speech it should be able to allow on its platform, but the judge suggested that Twitter’s own free speech argument might not hold up in court against claims like “it’s substantively unconscionable to deprive people of the most important platform to speak and to be able to seek redress of their legislators.”
“Now, all of that may be wrong, but that’s why we have lawsuits, is so that the other side can show it’s wrong,” Kahn said.
Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment. Taylor didn’t immediately offer comment.
Correction, June 16 at 11 a.m. PT: to correct spelling of judge’s name to Harold Kahn.