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US attorneys have sent US President Donald Trump a letter claiming that by blocking his citizens on Twitter he is violating their First Amendment right to free speech.
The letter accuses Trump of blocking people because they either mocked or disagreed with him, which the Knight First Amendment Institute deems unconstitutional.
“This Twitter account [@realDonaldTrump] operates as a ‘designated public forum’ for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional. We ask that you unblock them and any others who have been blocked for similar reasons,” the letter reads.
One of The Knight First Amendment Institute’s clients says she was blocked because of a GIF she sent of Trump and the Pope.
— Holly O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) May 28, 2017
No lawsuit has been filed, but the attorneys say that if the president does not unblock his constituents, it may soon come to that.
Though Trump uses his personal account experts argue that they count as official statements by the president
Though the US leader uses his personal account (and not the official @POTUS) to block users, experts argue that because he uses his own account to spread information about his presidency they count as official statements by the president.
Thus blocking inhibits free speech in two parts: the first in that they can’t read their president’s statements, the second in that they can’t engage in the conversation with him.
Donald Trump’s practice is not limited, either. A Twitter search for “Donald Trump blocked me” brings up hordes of users claiming the same fate.
OMG Donald Trump blocked me guys, now let me go on a 80 tweets long rant on why this is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/Z46pyVjliC
— Nymphia (@Shock_Yang) June 5, 2017
This is the tweet that got me blocked by Donald Trump…so he is right to block me 😂. https://t.co/YRQjrb31eA
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) June 6, 2017
My sister just informed me that some of her friends (7th grade Canadian students) are blocked by Donald Trump and I’m cackling
— carbohydrate queen (@gabbydumonceaux) June 7, 2017
DONALD TRUMP BLOCKED ME ON TWITTER. pic.twitter.com/skCzX8hTAr
— Steve Benko (@SteveBenko) June 7, 2017