Lawyers for CNN are trying to argue that retweets and follows qualify as endorsements as they fight a suit brought by relatives of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn who allege CNN defamed them by suggesting they were QAnon followers.
CNN ran a story showing John and Leslie Flynn at a meeting with the chyron reading “CNN Goes Inside a Gathering of QAnon Followers.” The couple alleged defamation because they said they are not QAnon followers and do not adhere to the group’s “dangerous, extremist, racist, anti-Semitic and violent beliefs,” according to Bloomberg Law.
But CNN is arguing that retweeting and following QAnon’s Twitter page is grounds for endorsement.
United States District Judge Gregory H. Woods denied CNN’s motion for reconsideration and a motion to certify an interlocutory appeal Friday in a Memorandum Opinion and Order.
“What does it say about you if you ‘follow’ someone on Twitter? What does it say about you when you retweet someone else’s tweet? These are not just questions for Millennials or Zoomers. They are critical questions in this motion to dismiss. CNN argues that the Court should conclude as a matter of law that be retweeting another’s tweet, the retweeter is adopting every word in the tweet as their own.” (RELATED: Trump To Sue CNN)
This is a weird case, but the judge seems to be weighing in on the eternal question of whether or not retweets are, legally speaking, endorsements. https://t.co/k5lKMiKJga pic.twitter.com/Q6nbLcZHQZ
— Mike Masnick (@mmasnick) August 15, 2022
“A retweet, in CNN’s view, cannot merely be used to comment on another’s tweet or to forward the fact of its existence to another.”
CNN is asking the court to take the position that by following a Twitter account, said individual is “now an adherent to the entire belief system of the tweeter.”
Woods said the court would not adopt CNN’s “sweeping assertions” regarding the retweeting or following of an account.
The Flynn couple can proceed with their suit as the judge said their tweets do not establish them as QAnon followers.