Lawsuit: Twitter Blacklisted Data Analyst Who Researched Fake Accounts

Twitter has suspended tweeting via text after CEO Jack Dorsey, pictured in November 2018, fell victim to a "SIM swap" hack

Twitter is facing another lawsuit from a former user, data analyst Geoff Golberg, who alleges that Twitter engages in “deceptive practices” as defined by New York consumer protection laws. Golberg was investigating the problem of “bot” accounts on the social media platform, and had spent $35,000 in advertising before his blacklisting.

The lawsuit also alleges that Twitter failed to honor its terms of service in good faith, by its consistent failure to provide users with “meaningful appeal rights upon suspension and termination, in spite of the fact that the contract specifically states that such rights will be afforded.”

The lawsuit also argues that Twitter’s position in its terms of service granting itself the right to ban or suspend users “for any reason at all” renders its broader contract with users unenforceable, particularly in the case of users who have used Twitter’s paid advertising service, which Golberg has — the data analyst says he paid over $35,000 to Twitter for promoted tweets.

Golberg had his account terminated last year, after calling another Twitter account, which he believed to be a bot, a “moron” several times. The lawsuit notes that many other accounts are allowed to use such language without having their accounts suspended.

Prior to his ban, Golberg was investigating the problem of bot networks on Twitter, for example an alleged botnet used to create artificial enthusiasm for the XRP cryptocurrency. Golberg also investigated alleged bots used by the MEK, an Iranian Islamist-Marxist organization supported by some U.S. interventionists, like disgraced former National Security Advisor John Bolton, as allies of regime change.

Golberg seeks a maximum in $50,000 in damages from Twitter. His lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal headaches for the tech company — numerous individuals have sued the company over alleged unfair bans in the past few years, and the number is growing. In the past few years, the company has faced lawsuits from Jared Taylor, Canadian feminist Meghan Murphy, and an FEC complaint from Laura Loomer.

While Twitter, like other tech platforms, is protected by the liability shield of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, it would take just one sympathetic ruling from a court to unleash a wave of similar lawsuits.

Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter, or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.

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