Trump can't block Twitter critics, appeals court affirms

phys.org | 5/23/2018 | Staff
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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that US President Donald Trump cannot legally block users on Twitter based on their political differences with him, affirming a lower court decision.

The three-judge panel agreed with last year's ruling by a federal judge that Trump was using "viewpoint discrimination" in violation of the constitutional rights of people with opposing views.

Second - Circuit - Appeals - Court - Question

The Second Circuit Appeals Court sidestepped the question of the president's free speech rights under the constitution's First Amendment on a privately owned internet platform, but affirmed that Trump had effectively created a public forum for official White House business.

"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," the judges wrote in a 29-page opinion.

Ruling - Response - Lawsuit - Group - Twitter

The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of Twitter users and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, alleging that Trump improperly blocked comments from his political opponents.

Plaintiffs, including a University of Maryland professor, a Texas police officer and a New York comic, said they were blocked from the @realDonaldTrump account after posting tweets critical of his policies.

Trump - Response - Capacity - Users

Trump's legal response is that he is not acting in his official capacity when he blocks users, but...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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