In lawsuit over Trump's Twitter activity, judge suggests: Mute critics, don't block

09 March, 2018, 10:21 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • The masthead of US President Donald Trump's Twitter account as

That's the very strong suggestion of U.S. District Court Naomi Reice Buchwald in NY, who is presiding over a lawsuit brought against Trump by when seven blocked Twitter users and Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute. Seemingly contradicting that message, the White House officials have said that the president's tweets should be regarded as "official statements".

The suit was filed a year ago by the Knight First Amendment Institute along with seven individuals who have been blocked by Trump on Twitter. Mute gives you even more control over the content you see on Twitter by letting you remove a user's content from key parts of your Twitter experience.

Seven people from around the country - including a comedian, a professor, a policeman and a singer - joined together in a lawsuit after Trump blocked them from seeing and commenting on his tweets.

Michael Baer, a Justice Department lawyer representing Mr. Trump, did not dismiss the muting suggestion outright, but insisted that the president was well within his rights to block whomever he pleased. "I don't think it's a ideal solution, but it's far less restrictive", Fallow said.

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Mr. Baer agreed muting accounts would enable Mr. Trump to avoid reading tweets from users of his choosing, The AP reported.

"Other constituents are not able to engage in the cross-communication that Twitter is known for", she said. Buchwald is considering motions from both sides seeking judgment in their favor.

"Once it is a public forum, you can't shut somebody up because you don't like what they're saying", Buchwald said. And the defense has stressed the fact that everyone who is blocked by the president can still view his tweets by logging out of their accounts, and that they still have many other ways to petition the government. "Instead of blocking, he mutes them", she suggested - meaning Trump simply wouldn't see their responses.

Trump's tweets, which cover everything from public policy to what he sees on television and attacks on Democrats, are seen by millions of people and often draw tens of thousands of comments each. This has barred these users from interacting with the President's @realdonaldtrump account. "It is not the case that the only person harmed by blocking is the blockee". "This is an official account and it is being used as a forum for speech".

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After admonishing the attorneys to consider her mute-don't-block proposal, Buchwald said she will make a decision "in due course", though she said one likely won't come immediately. After the three plaintiffs in attendance addressed reporters, Fallow herself was asked about Buchwald's suggestion. "As to the muting, I think that is an option".

"We have made our arguments that this is an official account the president uses in an official capacity and that him blocking people simply because they criticize him is viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment", Fallow said.

"We've said from the outset that muting would be a less restrictive alternative than blocking, so we were pleased the judge raised this possibility", Jaffer said.

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