Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not much like being the subject of criticism or ridicule. He recently filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter and the users behind three Twitter accounts, alleging, among other things, that they had defamed him. Specifically, Nunes has sued a Republican consultant named Liz Mair and two anonymous Twitter users who have created spoof accounts and use the Twitter handles @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow. (Nunes comes from a family of dairy farmers, a fact he has proudly repeated on the campaign trail.) This is one of three recent lawsuits he has filed based on his belief that people, or in one instance a newspaper, disparaged his character.
Nunes’ suit is more than a tad petty, which his lawyers may actually realize. But the suit raises larger questions about the liability of social media corporations and the conduct of their users that will reach far beyond Nunes and his Twitter trolls.