Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump Sued For Blocking Critics On Twitter

Trump Sued For Blocking Critics On Twitter

"Defendants' viewpoint-based blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs violates the Knight Institute's First Amendment rights by distorting the expressive forum in which the Knight Institute and other non-blocked users participate", the suit alleges. It's something that Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute says is unconstitutional, and it's now suing the President over the practice. The suit also names White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Dan Scavino, Trump's director of social media, as defendants.

Citing the Supreme Court's acknowledgement of the important role social media platforms now play in civic and political discourse, the free speech advocacy group contends that being denied the ability to interact with the President's Twitter account violates the law. Hence, it may sound a little weird but the prosecution's propositions definitely carry substance.

It noted that Trump on July 2 tweeted: "My use of social media is not Presidential - it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL".

Jameel Jaffer, the Knight First Amendment Institute's director, said that dozens of people had reached out to the group after they were blocked by Trump's eight-year-old account @realDonaldTrump, which has over 30 million followers. "It also imposes an unconstitutional restriction on their right to petition the government for redress of grievances".

Do you think the president violated the First Amendment when he blocked users from his personal account? Fortunately, King won't have to miss out: "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling offered to DM Trump tweets directly to him.

Now, seven tweeters allege the U.S. leader and his aides have violated the country's First Amendment - which guarantees the rights of free expression and speech - by blocking them just because they have criticised him or his policies.

President Trump's Twitter account has gone beyond sparking headlines, and has now sparked a lawsuit.

The suit reads: 'The @realDonaldTrump 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.

"It's like barring people at the door of a city council meeting because they criticized your policy", said Katie Fallow, a senior attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute, which is representing the blocked Twitter users. Most recently, the White House has forbidden reporters from recording press briefings, an act that journalists across the US have widely condemned. Still, the complaint highlights the peculiar and uncharted territory of a presidency whose messaging is conducted largely across social media. The hashtag "Blocked by Trump" has gone viral.

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