Earlier this year, Facebook booted a batch of users including InfoWars founder Alex Jones, Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan, conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson, and conservative provocateur Laura Loomer. The social media service claims they violated company policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. The company's announcement prompted a string of Twitter rants from President Donald Trump; a bizarre, widely panned "remember us" plea from Watson; and now a $3 billion lawsuit from Loomer.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in the Southern District of Florida, the self-described "most banned woman in the world" claims Facebook defamed her by labeling her dangerous. Loomer's attorney, Larry Klayman, a right-wing activist who once filed a birther-fueled lawsuit to keep Barack Obama off the ballot in 2012, says his client is an "American heroine" who has been smeared by the tech giant.
"When you call someone a dangerous person, you're in effect making them a pariah," says Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch. "You're making them untouchable."
The lawsuit says Facebook's community standards describe dangerous individuals and organizations as "those involved in terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, [or] organized violence or criminal activity.” Loomer, the suit argues, "does not fall, or come close to falling," into any of those categories and "has never once advocated violence against any person or group of persons." Instead, she is "simply a conservative, Jewish woman who has used social media to call out anti-Semitism and violence against homosexuals, while expressing her political views and opinions."
In announcing the bans this past May, Facebook didn't reveal all of the circumstances that led to its decision, according to the Verge. But, the website reported, some of the circumstances included "engaging in acts of hate or violence; calling for or carrying out acts of violence rooted in racial or ethnic prejudice; describing themselves as the follower of a hateful ideology; or using hate speech or slurs in their profiles."
Loomer, the Verge reported, was kicked off for actions that include appearing in a video with Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, whom the company has designated a hate figure, and voicing support for far-right activist Faith Goldy, who herself was banned for racist content.
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A South Florida resident, Loomer is best known for stunts such as rushing onstage during a Shakespeare in the Park play whose plot included the assassination of a Trump-like character, yelling at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during a congressional hearing, and scaling a fence at Nancy Pelosi's house. She calls herself an investigative journalist and has worked for right-wing companies Project Veritas and Rebel Media.
Loomer has frequently attacked Muslims and earned bans from Uber and Lyft after calling for the creation of a "non-Islamic" rideshare service and saying she never wanted to support an Islamic immigrant driver. A few weeks before being banned from Facebook, she posted an Instagram story calling Islam a "cancer on society." In another post days later, she urged "patriots" to "rise up" against Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Asked about those comments, Klayman says he doesn't agree that Loomer called Islam a cancer: "That's taken out of context. But in any event, you have the right to express your opinion." As for the "rise up" comment, he says that meant peaceful and legal opposition.
The lawsuit claims Loomer has been subjected to "hatred, distrust, ridicule, contempt, and disgrace" and endangered physically because of the "dangerous" label Facebook thrust upon her. She wants the company to apologize and reinstate her accounts. She also wants $3 billion — 5 percent of the company's net worth — to "sufficiently punish" Facebook for its "illegal conduct."