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Defamation suit accuses Twitter of 'selective enforcement' of censorship policies

Shop owner at center of Hunter Biden laptop controversy accuses social media company of "false and defamatory statements."

Updated: May 19, 2021 - 10:23pm

A defamation lawsuit against social media giant Twitter is accusing the company of unevenly enforcing its internal censorship policies depending on the political slant of the content in question.

The lawsuit was filed by Colorado resident John Paul Mac Isaac, a computer repair store owner who last year was thrust into the scrum of the bitter U.S. presidential race as it neared its end in October. 

Mac Isaac previously ran the computer repair business — the Mac Shop — at which President Joe Biden's son Hunter in April 2019 dropped off a computer for repairs. Biden allegedly never returned to pay for or retrieve the computer. In December of that year the FBI seized the computer, though prior to that seizure Mac Isaac had made a copy of the data from Biden's laptop. 

The contents of that copy — including controversial emails appearing to depict foreign business entanglements involving Joe Biden — were eventually detailed by the New York Post in October of last year. Yet Twitter swiftly clamped down on the story, claiming that the report ran afoul of its guidelines forbidding the publication of hacked and/or revealing documents. 

Mac Isaac in the lawsuit claims that Twitter's "specific intent" was to "communicate to its users … that [Mac Isaac] is a hacker and/or hacked the published materials." 

The negative attention brought by the controversy resulted in Mac Isaac receiving "threats to his person and property," the lawsuit claims. Mac Isaac eventually "had to close his business" as a result. 

The suit claims that Twitter "seemingly makes policy decisions based on whether the topic impacts a more liberal-leaning topic versus a more conservative-leaning topic." 

It cites several examples such as a September 2020 report on then-President Trump's tax returns that relied on leaked government documents; that story was not censored by Twitter. 

The social media company did, on the other hand, last month censor a New York Post report about the million-dollar Los Angeles home of avowed Marxist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors. 

The latest filing in the suit is an amended complaint. Mac Isaac's lawyer Brian Della Rocca said the amended filing was done in part to underscore what Mac Isaac claims is Twitter's injurious conduct against him.

"With our amended complaint, we hope to clear up any confusion Twitter may have as to how it defamed John Paul Mac Isaac," Della Rocca told Just the News. 

Reached via email, a spokeswoman for Twitter declined to comment on the case.

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