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President Trump is no longer allowed to block people on Twitter, court rules

President Trump blocked you on Twitter illustration
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President Donald Trump cannot block critics from viewing his Twitter feed, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

A three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter who were critical of him and his policies, and that his account is considered a “public forum,” according to the New York Times. The court argued that no member of the American public should be barred from access to the views of the President. 

Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote the decision, which states that “the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

Tuesday’s ruling upheld the May 2018 decision by a Federal District in New York that Trump can’t block people. That court also ruled that Trump was violating the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter.

“While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the president’s personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him,” said U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the 2018 decision. 

Both of these cases were the result of seven Twitter users who made comments about the President and his policies and were subsequently blocked in 2017. Reuters reported that among those Trump has blocked over the years include Stephen King, Rosie O’Donnell, Chrissy Teigen, and the military veteran political action committee

Tuesday’s decision comes on the heels of Trump criticizing Twitter, along with other big tech companies. Two weeks ago, Trump said that the U.S. government should sue Facebook and Google, as well as accusing Twitter of making it harder for users on the platform to find and follow his account. 

In June, Twitter announced new update to the platform that will add a notice on politicians’ tweets if the social network deems that it violate the social network’s rules. While Twitter did not specifically call out Trump in the blog post about the update, the new rules apply to him as a verified account government official with more than 100,000 followers (and Twitter’s most recognizable user).

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Allison Matyus
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