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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

  • In the suit, filed in a Northern California court, Twitter said "Paxton made clear that he will use the full weight of his office, including his expansive investigatory powers, to retaliate against Twitter for having made editorial decisions with which he disagrees."
  • Twitter said it has rights under the First Amendment "to make decisions about what content to disseminate through its platform," including "the discretion to remove or otherwise restrict access to Tweets, profiles, or other content posted to Twitter."
  • The company added in an emailed statement that in this case, "the Texas Attorney General is misusing the powers of his office to infringe on Twitter’s First Amendment rights and attempt to silence free speech."

The big picture: The U.S. and governments around the world have sought to crack down on Big Tech companies and curtail their perceived powers in recent years.

  • Just last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced his office was working with state senators on legislation he said would "prevent social media providers like Facebook & Twitter from cancelling conservative speech."

For the record: Paxton is an ardent Trump supporter, who unsuccessfully filed lawsuits that sought to invalidate 10 million votes in four battleground states lost by the former president in the 2020 election.

Of note: The attorney general is facing other separate legal challenges, including an FBI investigation into allegations that he "used his office to benefit a wealthy donor," AP notes.

  • He's also due to stand trial on securities fraud charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The case that dates back to 2015 has stalled in the courts following legal challenges, according to AP.
  • Representatives for Paxton did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details on the lawsuit, comment from Twitter and further context.

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker