Canadian lawyers accusing Twitter of stifling free speech score first victory in novel lawsuit
It is a special kind of outrage in this digital age: the reaction to being blocked or censored by a social media platform like Twitter. Some Americans, including ex-president Donald Trump, have resorted to legal action to fight what they consider a breach of their freedom of expression.
But in citing their constitutional rights those litigants have all faced the same immutable hurdle. The United States’ first amendment, like the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada, applies just to government, not private individuals or companies.
No one has a constitutional right to tweet.
But a unique Canadian lawsuit that just scored its first win in the courts is taking a creative new approach to the issue, claiming that Twitter is breaching contract law — not the Charter directly — with its alleged restrictions on free speech.
The case is challenging Twitter’s decision to refuse to run a paid tweet for a B.C.-made documentary — The New Corporation — that’s critical of large corporations. The company tried to have the legal action thrown out, but an Ontario Superior Court judge recently ruled it had enough merit to move ahead.
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