US Court of Appeals says Trump can't block people on Twitter

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Donald Trump's love of Twitter is legendary and often ridiculed; it is also the source of frequent controversy.

The US president is huge fan of ranting, raving and venting steam in tweet storms, but his famed love of sycophants also comes to the fore. Many people who have responded to his tweets critically have found themselves blocked. Now the US Court of Appeal says this is a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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Judges ruled that Trump was not permitted by the constitution "to exclude persons from an otherwise open online dialogue because they expressed views with which he disagreed". The president and members of his staff were sued by Twitter users who were unable to see his tweets.

In blocking users, Trump was, the court said:

engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination by utilizing Twitter's 'blocking' function to limit certain users' access to his social media account, which is otherwise open to the public at large, because he disagrees with their speech.

This is not the first time a judge has said that Trump blocking Twitter users is unconstitutional, and it may well not be the last. This time around, the judges said that the president's Twitter account has "all the trappings of an official, state‐run account", and should therefore be considered a public forum which citizens could not be barred from participating in.

Image credit: Julia Grifferty / Shutterstock

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