President Trump called the lawsuits a "pivotal battle" for free speech and is demanding that the social media companies restore his accounts and the accounts of others who have been de-platformed. He is also seeking punitive damages from the companies.
"We're demanding an end to the shadow banning, a stop to the silencing, a stop to the blacklisting, vanishing, and canceling," Trump said at a news conference at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
"There is no better evidence that big tech is out of control than the fact that they banned the sitting president of the United States earlier this year," Trump added. "If they can do it to me, they can do it to anyone," Trump added.
He accused the social media companies of being "the de-facto censorship arm of the U.S. government."
"While the social media companies are officially private entities, in recent years they have ceased to be private with the enactment and their historical use of Section 230, which profoundly protects them from liability," Trump said. "It is in effect a massive government subsidy. These companies have been co-opted, coerced, and weaponized by government actors to become the enforcers of illegal, unconstitutional censorship."
Legal experts don't expect the lawsuits to get very far, pointing out the similar cases have been dismissed by judges in the past.
"This is a full misunderstanding of how the law works," Shoshana Weissmann of the libertarian R Street Institute told Fox News. "Government cannot wave a wand and say 'you're public now.' The idea that this is a subsidy is also nowhere near the truth… And finally, government pressuring companies or companies taking cues from government entities also does not magically turn them into government actors."