Monday, February 22, 2021

Can Twitter delete a person's account?

Here's a case from December 2020 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh circuit.  Here's a map of the circuits.
This case is called ILLOOMINATE MEDIA, INC. and LAURA LOOMER v CAIR FLORIDA, INC. and TWITTER, INC, and is an appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Twitter banned Laura Loomer, a political activist and journalist, from its platform, because it claimed one of her tweets violated its Terms of Service.  Loomer claimed that CAIR, a Muslim civil rights group, "conspired with Twitter to ban her for her political beliefs." She alleged that CAIR interfered with her business relationship with Twitter.

To show that CAIR’s alleged instruction to ban Loomer constituted tortious interference with a business relationship, Loomer was required to show that she had “existing or prospective legal or contractual rights” in the use of her Twitter account.  Twitter’s Terms of Service, which Loomer did not dispute, allow Twitter to ban Loomer from its platform for any reason at all.  So even if CAIR instructed Twitter to ban her account, it did not tortiously interfere with a business relationship because Loomer did not have legal or contractual rights in the continued use of her account.

The court determined that the failure to meet the above requirement meant it did not need to consider whether Twitter’s decision to ban Loomer was protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

This decision did not directly state that Twitter can ban an account, but it gives an idea of how the court would have probably ruled if that issue was directly decided.

Do you agree with the court's conclusion?  Why or why not?


  1. I think anything illegal shouldn't be allowed, but otherwise it's a scary line because if you ban one you open the floodgates. Although I think covid conspiracy theorists are dangerous and shouldn't be allowed to spruik their crazy.

    1. I think you’re right. Obviously-illegal should be banned. But absent that, once you ban one person, it can open the floodgates. Similarly, I know of several news and other sites that no longer allow comments because it was just easier to ban all comments than police the activity. I think also our society is falling away from “agree to disagree”, especially on the internet. Basic humanity and respect are frequently lacking. Sad.