Fenton school teacher joins Trump suit against Facebook
A Fenton elementary school teacher has joined former President Donald Trump's lawsuit against social media giant Facebook, arguing the platform suspended her page for 24 hours in April after a post on mask use among kids.
Jennifer Horton, who was introduced at Trump's Wednesday press conference announcing the suit, noted two occasions in the lawsuit when her posts came under scrutiny by Facebook.
Trump's long shot lawsuits with Horton and a few others take aim at Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube as well as their chief executives, arguing Trump and other conservatives have been wrongly censored by the social media platforms. After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Trump was suspended from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube amid concerns that he would incite further violence.
The 1996 Communications Decency Act allows social media platforms to moderate their platforms in "good faith" by removing posts that violate their terms of service.
On an unspecified date, Facebook warned Horton that a post she had saved regarding vaccines was "false information," according to the suit.
On another occasion on April 12 — shortly before Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mandated face masks for kids as young as 2 years old in gatherings — Horton posted to her page an article challenging the safety of mask usage by children that she said had been on a National Institutes of Health website.
She posted the article with the message: "If your child wears a mask all day at school, this article from the National Institute (sic) of Health is a must read."
The suit incorrectly states Horton's April 12 post was made after and in response to Whitmer's order, but the order mandating masks for kids over 2 wasn't announced until April 16. The lawsuit also incorrectly states Whitmer's order applied to kids under the age of 2, when it actually expanded the mask mandate to children ages 2 to 4.
On April 17, Horton said she began reaching out to missing persons pages on Facebook when her brother went missing in Tennessee.
On April 29, Horton's account was suspended for a full day "due to her post," the lawsuit said.
Horton was "terrified of how to operate" within Facebook's terms of service to avoid another suspension, the lawsuit said. And when her brother was found dead about two months later, "she was left devastated, wondering if she could have prevented his death had she been able to communicate with her network on Facebook."
"At one of the most difficult times of her life, when communication with her 'network' was the most important, defendants took her voice away from her due to her post regarding masks," the lawsuit said.
Facebook, Google and Twitter declined comment Wednesday when contacted by the Associated Press.