Twitter has sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, saying he retaliated against the company by opening an investigation into the company’s content moderation practices after it banned former President Donald Trump from its platform in the days following the Capitol riot.
“Twitter seeks to stop AG Paxton from unlawfully abusing his authority as the highest law-enforcement officer of the State of Texas to intimidate, harass, and target Twitter in retaliation for Twitter’s exercise of its First Amendment rights,” the company wrote in its filing.
Twitter added that Paxton “made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees.”
Paxton launched the investigation on January 13, five days after Twitter banned Trump, saying he incited the storming of the United States Capitol and was using its platform to promote violence and conspiracy theories about the 2020 general election.
“First Amendment rights and transparency must be maintained for a free online community to operate and thrive,” Paxton said at the time. “However, the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President of the United States and several leading voices not only chills free speech, it wholly silences those whose speech and political beliefs do not align with leaders of Big Tech companies.”
BREAKING: Today I launched an investigation into @Google @Facebook @Twitter @amazon & @Apple investigating their policies & practices regarding content moderation and for information related to Parler, a social media app terminated or blocked. https://t.co/yKjetiMGSX
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 14, 2021
Paxton, a noted Trump ally, has made headlines in the past for also pushing conspiracy theories about the election, at one point filing a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the election results in the key swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, all of which were won decisively by President Joe Biden. He has also had significant legal troubles. He was recently indicted on securities fraud and accused of bribery amid allegations that he abused his power while in office.