Free Speech Legality of President Trump's Actions

Can the President Block You on Twitter?

A lawsuit was filed a few months ago claiming that the President violated the First Amendment by blocking multiple Twitter users who were criticizing him. This is not a joke. In fact, many First Amendment experts have written a legal brief defending the plaintiffs and supporting the claim that Trump cannot block a Twitter user based on their political opinion.

Here is a summary of what you need to understand:

  • What do the plaintiffs want? They want the court to order Trump to unblock these users and to order him to stop blocking others who might criticize him on the social media platform in the future.

 

  • Does it matter that Trump is using his personal @realDonaldTrump account and not the “official @POTUS one? Probably not. Even though that is exactly what the government is arguing, the truth of the matter is that Donald Trump uses his personal Twitter account to communicate official policy, to engage in conversation with foreign leaders, and to announce official undertakings. At the beginning of his presidency, Sean Spicer claimed that this account was an official one.

 

  • If @realDonaldTrump account qualifies as an official one, his Twitter account is thus considered to be a “public forum.” In a public forum, the government cannot discriminate based on people’s viewpoints.

 

  • All the plaintiffs claim to have been blocked after they criticized the President on Twitter. Hence, Trump discriminated and did not let them participate in a public forum because of their particular viewpoints.

 

One final note: Don’t forget that one of the most common tactics used by despots and dictators is silencing their opposition and manipulating the public into thinking that they are popular and loved by all.

 

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