A federal judge in the US has ruled that President Donald Trump is no longer allowed to block Twitter users.
Judge Naomi Buchwald ruled that blocking people from following the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account was akin to viewpoint discrimination which in turn violates the First Amendment laws in the US.
The judge said that Trump’s account was a public forum and, just like the government is not allowed to stifle free speech at a public park, it isn’t allowed to prevent folks from speaking their mind online.
So what should Trump do when the trolls come knocking? Ignore them.
“No First Amendment harm arises when a government’s ‘challenged conduct is simply to ignore the [speaker],’ as the Supreme Court has affirmed that ‘[t]hat it is free to do,'” Buchwald wrote in her ruling.
Had Trump simply muted the user no harm would have arisen as Twitter users would still be able to view and respond to Trump’s tweets. Blocking a user prevents them from interacting with an account altogether.
The ruling also extends to White House social media director Daniel Scavino.
While neither Trump nor Scavino are allowed to block users, Buchwald did not order them to unblock users.
“Because no government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional,” wrote the judge.
[Image – CC BY SA Gage Skidmore]