California Republican, Devin Nunes is suing three Twitter users and Twitter for defamation and seeking $250 million in damages, according to The New York Times.
The accounts include two parody accounts, @DevinNunesMom, @DevinCow and Liz Mair, Republican strategist. According to Vox News, Nunes claims that Liz Mair and the two accounts were working together to defame him and hinder his work as a congress member. In addition, Nunes is claiming that, “Twitter is censoring Republicans and shadow bans their accounts and actively helps their opponents,” according to The New York Times. Shadow banning is when a platform allows someone to post but does not allow others to see the post.
In the same article, The New York Times continued explaining that this is not the first time Twitter has been accused of shadow banning or censorship. A plethora of other Republicans have also claimed the app to be picking sides. Twitter has repeatedly denied all such claims.
According to Vox News, Liz Mair took to Twitter to defend herself. She stated, according to Vox News, “as a libertarian Republican,” she holds the principles of the First Amendment, “very dear.”
After speaking on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Monday a few of the tweets that Nunes is labeling defamatory were presented. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, one of the tweets stated, “Devin’s boots are full of manure. He’s udder-ly worthless and its pasture time to move him to prison.”
Jim Bickerton, an expert in libel law, spoke to The Washington Post regarding the Twitter accounts criticism. Bickerton explained that Nunes is a public figure, “the right to mock him, however mercilessly, is protected under the First Amendment.” Bickerton concluded that the tweets were, “most obviously hyperbole.”
Mark Braun, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mass Media Law professor also weighed in on the case. Braun stated he does not think Nunes will prevail. In addition, he explains, “you have to have thick skin to be a public figure, and that has been true since our early days as a nation.”
According to Vanity Fair, Mair and @DevinCow have gained followers from the lawsuit. Nunes had stated Twitter was amplifying the critical accounts but it now seems he is the one causing the accounts to gain attention.
Header photo courtesy of the Associated Press.