Trump CANNOT block anyone on Twitter, court rules

Trump CANNOT block anyone on Twitter, court rules

Trump CANNOT block anyone on Twitter, court rules

US President Donald Trump has no right to block his Twitter followers who criticize him on the social network.

"Blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment", wrote Buchwald, adding that Trump's Twitter account is "a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public".

"We thought it was a very important precedent to establish that the accounts of public officials on social media do operate as public forums where people's First Amendment rights are protected, which enables them to contribute to the dialogue about policy from the local level up to the national level and prevents public officials, effectively, from creating echo chambers where you block out dissent", Knight Institute staff attorney Carrie DeCell said.

Judge Buchwald said that the answer to both the questions was no.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps", a spokesperson said.

Buchwald's ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed against Trump in July by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and several Twitter users.

The president uses his account, which has 37,600 tweets and 52.2 million followers, to "take measures that can only be taken by the president as president", the ruling reads.

These claimants can not view Trumps tweets, reply to them or see the comments thread underneath them.

The Justice Department has 60 days to appeal the ruling.

The court ruled that the people have a right to participate in a "public forum", which applies to social media.

The judge stopped short of directly ordering Trump to unblock users, saying it was not necessary to enter a "legal thicket" involving courts' power over the president. As Twitter favors verified users on the platform, while often shadowbanning conservative accounts, liberal and left-leaning responses to the President often appear at the top of his replies.

"Muting equally vindicates the president's right to ignore certain speakers and to selectively amplify the voices of certain others but - unlike blocking - does so without restricting the right of the ignored to speak", Buchwald said.

Eugene Volokh - a University of California Los Angeles School of Law professor who specialises in First Amendment issues - said the decision's effect would reach beyond Trump.

Twitter Inc. was not involved to the lawsuit and declined to comment.

It argued that the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account is a "public forum" under the First Amendment. "If that's the case, the government doesn't get to pick and choose who is allowed in". And that, ruled Naomi Buchwald, a New York Federal judge, raises a constitutional problem.

After a hearing this year, the judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics.

"The President, like other public officials, routinely engages in conduct that is not state action, whether that might be giving a toast at a wedding or giving a speech at a fundraiser", the Justice Department wrote in a brief, according to The Washington Post.

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