A Republican congressman is suing Twitter claiming the online platform discriminates against conservatives by hiding their messages, and for allowing "abusive, hateful and defamatory" content about the lawmaker. He's seeking more than $250 million from Twitter, a political strategist who is critical of Nunes on Twitter and the anonymous users behind the parody accounts, arguing the tweets damaged his reputation and were responsible for his narrower-than-usual win of his congressional seat in 2018.
"Shadow-banning" is the act of making a user's content invisible or undiscoverable, unbeknownst to the original poster.
Other defendants in the lawsuit include Elizabeth A. "Liz" Mair, who allegedly posed as Nunes' mother and posted scathing anti-Devin Nunes posts to try and paint Nunes as unfit for his office.
Nunes accuses Twitter of "shadow-banning conservatives", including himself in order to influence the 2018 elections.
Nunes has accused Twitter of censoring conservatives before, threatening the company with legal action previous year for allegedly hiding comments from prominent Republicans.
Nunes while chairman of the House Intelligence Committee gained a national reputation as a prominent defender of President Donald Trump, including releasing documents that Democrats said appeared meant to undercut Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Of the Devin's Cow account, the lawsuit alleges the author unfairly dubbed the congressman "a treasonout cowpoke", and falsely claimed that "Devin's boots are full of manure".
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Nunes' complaints nearly immediately started trending on Twitter and elsewhere on the web.
"The additional Twitter accounts followed the same pattern as @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow, and published the same false and defamatory statements", the complaint says. According to Fox News, Nunes is sick of being mocked and ridiculed on Twitter and is striking back.
Parody accounts are allowed on Twitter so long as their profiles state their objective.
Twitter also declined to comment. Dorsey said Twitter "would fully admit we were probably way too aggressive" when dealing with conservative accounts. After all, Nunes has a history with "frivolous lawsuits".
The lawsuit says those accounts were created for the sole goal of tweeting and retweeting false and defamatory statements about Nunes to "interfere with his duties, employment and investigations of corruptions as a United States Congressman".