Federal judge rules that Trump can't block his critics on Twitter

24 May, 2018, 18:58 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Federal Judge rules Trump can’t block people on Twitter

U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan stopped short in her written decision of ordering Trump or a subordinate to stop the practice of blocking critics from viewing his Twitter account, saying it was enough to point out that it was unconstitutional.

O'Reilly told The Outline that she wasn't particularly surprised by the court's decision today, since District Judge Buchwald had already pointed out that Trump can simply mute people on Twitter rather than blocking them.

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump may not block critics from reading his Twitter feed, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday, finding that doing so violates their right to free speech.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about whether the president would comply with the remedy.

The Justice Department said in an emailed statement that it would fight the ruling.

"The First Amendment prohibits government officials from suppressing speech on the basis of viewpoint", Knight Institute lawyer Katie Fallow said. Because Mr. Trump and Mr. Scavino also retain control over the account, she said, it's a government space as well. The feature prevents selected accounts from appearing in a user's Twitter mentions - effectively blocking them from Trump's view.

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Since being block, they were unable to see the president's tweets that have included policy proposals and cabinet appointments. The decision is very clear in differentiating between the "block" and "mute" functions on Twitter, which, for those unfamiliar, is a bit like the difference between holding the phone away from your ear during a phone call and not answering the call. "The court's application of that principle here should guide all of the public officials who are communicating with their constituents through social media".

"My concern at the time, was this guy, with so much responsibility, who has all the nuclear codes, is so careless with a platform that is so powerful that he makes typos and doesn't care about it", Gu said Wednesday. "The most important part was she really understood how the technology works".

If Donald Trump blocks someone, that person loses the opportunity to reply to Trump tweets and have their tweet show up underneath them. Scores of users identify themselves as such with the hashtag #BlockedByTrump. They include people from all walks of life, including high school students and bloggers.

"This is a great precedent we have set for politicians that decide to use social media as a town hall to be held accountable to the rules of the First Amendment", Gu said. Often that insight holds for his administration's officials as well.

"To be fair, the Department of Justice keeps tweets from @realDonaldTrump as official records", said Buckwalter-Posa.

"It would end up applying to a wide range of government officials throughout the country", he said. In addition, it was stressed that "no government official-including the president-is above the law". "When a government official does that, it raises a constitutional problem". The Department of Justice argued past year that users who are not logged into their Twitter accounts can still see the president's tweets online because they are public. She said she assumed Trump's social media director Dan Scavino would unblock the users in light of her decision.

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