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Meghan Murphy, the editor of trans-exclusionary feminist website Feminist Current, has lost a court bid to overturn her Twitter ban over posts repeatedly referring to transgender women as men.
In a 42-page opinion dated 22 January, California’s First District Appellate Court upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit from Murphy, finding that Twitter was well within its rights to issue bans for violating policies on hateful conduct.
According to court documents, the Canadian writer was suspended after she targeted a number of local transgender campaigners, referring to them as “he” and “trans-identified male/misogynist”.
Murphy’s complaint argued that Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, which bars “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals”, constitutes “viewpoint discrimination” because it “forbids expression” of the view that trans women are men.
She also claimed that the Twitter terms of service, which explicitly give the company the right to suspend an account “at any time for
any or no reason… without liability to you” were “substantively unconscionable”.
However, the court upheld the conclusion that as a private company, Twitter is free to enforce its own terms of service as it chooses.
Associate justice Sandra L Margulies, who penned the decision with two other justices, concluded: “The clear terms of Twitter’s user agreement preclude a claim for breach of contract based on the allegations of Murphy’s complaint.”
The ruling held that Twitter was immune from the lawsuit under Section 230, the law maligned by Trump supporters that bars internet platforms from prosecution over user-generated content.
The court added: “Under Section 230, interactive computer service providers have broad immunity from liability for traditional editorial functions undertaken by publishers — such as decisions whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content created by third parties.
“Because each of Murphy’s causes of action seek to hold Twitter liable for its editorial decisions to block content she and others created from appearing on its platform, we conclude Murphy’s suit is barred by the broad immunity conferred by the CDA.
“In addition, Murphy has failed to state a cognizable cause of action under California law, and has failed to demonstrate how she could amend her complaint to allege a viable claim for relief.”
Meghan Murphy claims she isn’t transphobic but insists trans women are men.
Meghan Murphy is a controversial figure, attracting protests in 2019 when she was invited to speak in the Scottish Parliament.
Murphy denied being transphobic, telling the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “Women’s rights exist because women are born female, not because they identify with femininity, because they wear dresses, because they wear make-up.
“I think we do need to protect everyone from being discriminated against, but we don’t need to say that trans-identifying males are literally female to protect them from discrimination.”