Devin Nunes was hoping for a big win in court with lawsuits against Twitter over parody accounts purporting to be his mother and a cow on his family ranch, all the better to stick it to social media over their “censoring” of conservative voices. As it turns out, the mom and the cow won and Nunes’ attempts to silence them haven’t worked.
Rep. Devin Nunes cannot sue Twitter for defamation over parody accounts pretending to be his mother and a cow on his family ranch, a judge has ruled https://t.co/gLvmBMLJU2
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) June 24, 2020
The lawsuit was brought to court in 2018 after Nunes claimed that they made his midterm win much closer than it had been in 2016. Of course it couldn’t have been his bowing and scraping to Donald Trump, or his involvement in trying to derail the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, or his general showboating. It had to be the cow, right?
According to The Daily Beast:
‘Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) cannot sue Twitter for defamation over parody accounts pretending to be his mother and a cow on his family ranch, a judge has ruled. Judge John Marshall wrote that Twitter was not the publisher of the remarks in question and therefore was protected by federal law stating that social media companies are not liable for posts by users, a provision President Donald Trump has advocated against and Nunes argued did not apply.’
The judge didn’t rule that Nunes can’t sue the owners of the two parody accounts, simply that Twitter cannot be a defendant in the case since they are not the authors of the two accounts. Nunes’ plan to stick it to Twitter has failed and he and his conservative friends will have to come up with another way to protest their “censoring” when they break the Twitter user agreement. But for now, the cow lives on.
The Fresno Bee reports that:
‘Nunes sued Twitter, the two parody accounts known as Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom and strategist Liz Mair in March 2019. He alleged the latter three had defamed him online, ruining his reputation and causing him to win his 2018 election by a narrower margin than normal. He accused Twitter of being negligent for allowing the alleged defamation.’
Despite Nunes’ protestations, the two accounts have racked up more than 735,000 followers, their popularity no doubt due to Nunes’ tantrums. It’s likely that few people would even know the accounts existed had the lawmaker not taken them into a courtroom. With his lawsuit against Twitter shuttered, it’s highly unlikely that Nunes will ever see a penny from his lawsuit.
‘Nunes’ lawyer, Steven Biss, argued that Twitter’s actions in allegedly favoring more liberal content over conservation content and allegedly promoting tweets that made fun of Nunes meant that Section 230 protections should not apply.’
Featured image screenshot via YouTube