Twitter users, blocked by Trump, cry censorship

Hope Soto
June 8, 2017

According to the New York Times, lawyers at the Institute recently sent a letter to Trump as well as the White House counsel, the press secretary, and the director of social media.

In a statement, Jaffer said that "though the architects of the Constitution surely didn't contemplate presidential Twitter accounts, they understood that the President must not be allowed to banish views from public discourse simply because he finds them objectionable".

"The Knight Institute asked the President to unblock its clients, or to direct his subordinates to do so", the release added.

In a Twitterverse full of trolls, the block button has been an important part of maintaining a healthy online existence.

The president of the United States, the leader of the free world, has blocked me and others who are critical of him on Twitter.

At the end of the day, though, the institute's entire case hinges on the interpretation of the First Amendment, which bars the government from "abridging the freedom of speech" or from blocking the "right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances".

Because when it comes to the President's Twitter account, well, that's a little different.

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Although Democrats were most likely to express concerns about the president's tweeting and its potential impacts, some Republicans also appeared to have reservations about Trump's Twitter use.

The letter also makes the same request for the president's @POTUS account. And since his account, like others, provides the opportunity for a response, some think that would make it a kind of public forum. Kicking people out who don't agree with your viewpoint undermines the fundamentals of democracy.

Abdo said he isnt aware of another case involving a public official blocking his or her constituents on Twitter. In a fully public forum, opposing views can't be censored. Trump disbanded the traditional "war room" setting with top aides and advisors in favor his own personal use of his Twitter account.

The numbers reflect the public's growing distrust surrounding possible Trump-Russia connections - 31% of respondents said Trump did something illegal in dealing with Russia, with an additional 29% saying he did something unethical but not illegal.

The letter is not a formal declaration of legal action but does imply that if the users are not unblocked, legal action may follow. Four percent of registered voters think the president doesn't tweet enough.

The most constitutionally significant effect would be that blocked users apparently cant post to Twitter comment threads, at least without some complicated workarounds.

The White House could not be immediately reached for comment. Some former campaign staffers voiced their concern about the president's social media habit as well, telling Politico in February that they attempted to keep his tweeting under control by showing him positive media coverage.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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