Twitter block ruled violation of First Amendment

Twitter block ruled violation of First Amendment

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

Now a federal judge says Trump has to face the heat, ruling that the president and his staff blocking anyone on Twitter is unconstitutional because the platform amounts to a "public forum". "The answer to both questions is no", she begins her 75-page judgment.

"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.

The case was brought by The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of seven Twitter users who had been blocked by Mr Trump for criticising him or mocking him online.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has even expressed openness to using Google's hopelessly flawed, politically biased AI "hate speech" filter on reply threads beneath Trump tweets, which would privilege the replies of left-leaning users to the president even further. On behalf of seven of them, The Knight Institute filed a lawsuit past year claiming that Trump was distorting debate by preventing followers of his account from expressing their views.

Even if it's argued that the ruling is narrow and only meant to apply to public figures (maybe even arguing that it applies only to the USA president), that still has implications for Twitter's enforcement policy.

The ruling reaffirmed the conception most American citizens had over what constitutes a public forum in an age of interconnectedness, despite Twitter being a private company-elected officials' social media handles are maintained by government officials on the government's payroll.

While she said the President should "remedy the blocking", Judge Buchwald stopped short of directly ordering Mr Trump to unblock users.

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Donald Trump has broken the United States Constitution, a NY district court ruled Wednesday, putting the U.S. president in legal hot water.

The blocked: Along with Cohen, several other Twitter users have accused Trump of blocking them on Twitter.

But the judge's decision leaves open the possibility that Trump could ignore the ruling altogether.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said in an email: "We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps".

"We receive reports about how governmental officials manipulate social media comments to exclude opposing views to create the impression that hotly contested policies are not contested at all", EFF said on Twitter after the case was filed. The group argued that failing to recognize Trump's Twitter feed as a public forum would "threaten critical First Amendment values". The court decided that the president's own First Amendment rights did not override the plaintiffs.

It is unclear if Trump would unblock those he had blocked and the judge did not explicitly rule on that.

"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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