Crist Challenger Sues FEC for Failing to Address Twitter Concerns
WASHINGTON – Former Republican Congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, who ran unsuccessfully to unseat Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., last year, is suing the Federal Elections Commission saying it failed to address her concerns over her treatment by Twitter.
Luna, a former airfield manager in the U.S. Air Force and a one-time model, bested a field of four in 2020 to become the GOP’s nominee to represent U.S. House Florida District 13.
She then squared off against incumbent Democrat Charlie Crist, who beat her 53% to 47%.
In a complaint filed in the federal court in Washington, D.C., Luna claims she began asking for “verified” status of her Twitter account shortly after she became a candidate for the congressional seat in the fall of 2019, and that she and members of her campaign staff continued to communicate with the social media giant for months afterward.
However, despite obviously qualifying for “verified” status, and being in almost constant contact with Twitter, the company did nothing about her request, Luna said. In the meantime Twitter did verify opposing candidates’ accounts.
Luna claims because Twitter favored other candidates, giving them verified status on its platform, but denied her the same treatment, it violated the Federal Election Campaign Act.
This isn’t the first time Luna has been involved in a controversy involving Twitter, which, she says, consistently engaged in “content based discrimination against conservatives like herself.
“For example, Twitter temporarily locked [her] out of her account because she criticized socialism while dressed in an American military styled uniform.”
“She was also temporarily suspended from Twitter when she tweeted, “I am Hispanic, I am a NRA member, I am a veteran. I will not bend the knee to the socialist agenda to ban firearms, I took an oath to defend the people of this nation as well as the constitution.”
In her complaint, she sought to explain why the current situation she finds herself in with the social media company is, if anything, worse than what she says she has experienced in the past.
“A blue checkmark next to the account name conveys credibility and signifies it has been verified and is an account of public interest,” the complaint said.
“Verified accounts received significant boosts in engagement, including a 38% increased engagement on tweets with photos, a 16% boost on tweets with hashtags, and a 28% boost on tweets with videos,” it continues.
Further, the complaint said, “content posted from a verified Twitter account has a demonstrably
higher monetary value than content posted from un-verified accounts. Verified accounts automatically jump to the top of search results,” the complaint said.
Luna then notes that in 2018, Twitter introduced an “Election Labels” feature that contains relevant information about a political candidate, including the office
the candidate is running for, the state in which the office is located, and district
number (where applicable), and is clearly identifiable with a small icon of a
She states that in 2018, approximately 100 million times each day, and 13% of election conversation on Twitter in the United States included a tweet from an Election Labeled account.
“Verified Election Labeled accounts jump to the top of search results, result in higher engagement with other users, and account for a large portion of election related social media activity on Twitter. By selectively providing verification benefits to certain candidate accounts, Twitter has provided a valuable corporate funded benefit to those candidates, which is prohibited
under FECA,” the complaint said.
Unable to get satisfaction from Twitter, Luna filed an administrative complaint with the Federal Elections Commission on Oct. 22, 2020. Now, she says the agency failed to take action during the mandatory 120-day response period and is asking the court to order it to do so now.
In The News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Monday sought to block the release of documents related to the Jan.... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Monday sought to block the release of documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection to the congressional committee investigating the attack, challenging the decision of President Joe Biden. In a federal lawsuit, Trump said the committee request was... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A high-ranking Defense Department official sued in federal court in Washington, D.C. this week to determine why her... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A high-ranking Defense Department official sued in federal court in Washington, D.C. this week to determine why her security clearance still is suspended after five months. The DOD has accused Katie Arrington of “unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” says her lawsuit filed in U.S.... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Guns are again playing a big role in the courts and politics of Washington, D.C. after a champion... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Guns are again playing a big role in the courts and politics of Washington, D.C. after a champion of Second Amendment rights filed a new federal lawsuit to challenge a local law that seeks to restrict some firearms. This time, Dick A. Heller is... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Three American University students are appealing a ruling that dismissed their lawsuit demanding tuition refunds after the COVID-19... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Three American University students are appealing a ruling that dismissed their lawsuit demanding tuition refunds after the COVID-19 pandemic compelled a transition to online learning. They argue the university breached a contract and received unjust enrichment after they paid tens of thousands of dollars... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A federal judge’s ruling last week cast the District of Columbia back into disputes over gun rights at... Read More
WASHINGTON -- A federal judge’s ruling last week cast the District of Columbia back into disputes over gun rights at a time the murder rate is renewing calls for legislative reform. The judge ruled the District of Columbia must compensate six people who were arrested for... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge is hearing arguments Friday over whether Texas can leave in place the most... Read More
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge is hearing arguments Friday over whether Texas can leave in place the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., which since September has banned most abortions and sent women racing to get care beyond the borders of the nation's... Read More