Twitter is immune to Nunes’s defamation and negligence claims, the judge said, because the company is protected by a critical law at the heart of a political debate in Washington: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The court decision provides the most recent example of how the 1996 law has protected technology companies from litigation. And the ruling could inflame critics of the law, a group that includes President Donald Trump and other Republicans who have made unsubstantiated claims that social media platforms have a systemic bias against conservative views.
Nunes sued Twitter, the two satirical accounts, and a third Twitter user in March 2019, demanding $ 250 million in damages and anonymous accounts being unmasked.
But in a letter Wednesday to attorneys for Nunes and Twitter, Judge John Marshall said the issues in Nunes’s lawsuit were “substantially similar” to previous cases in which the platforms were released from liability under Section 230.
“The plaintiff seeks the court to treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of content provided by others based on whether or not to allow certain content to be on their Internet platform,” Marshall wrote in the decision, the copy of which was reviewed by CNN. “The court refuses to do so.”
In a statement, Twitter said it firmly believed that the court had made the correct decision.
“Twitter enforces the Twitter Rules impartially for all who use our service worldwide, regardless of background or political affiliation,” said spokeswoman Katie Rosborough. “We are constantly improving our efforts to serve the public conversation and we will continue to be transparent with the public.”
A spokesman for Nunes’s Congressional office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But earlier on Wednesday, Nunes tweeted a link to an alternative social media platform.
“I have some good moooos for you,” wrote @DevinNunesCow. “Oh wait, it’s good for me and not for you.”