Court rules that Donald Trump can not block people on Twitter

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A NY federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump can not block Twitter users for their political views after the President was sued in July 2017 by a free-speech group saying the president's actions violated the First Amendment.

Blocking users from viewing his Twitter account - a feature offered by the social media platform - is unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald wrote in her ruling.

On Wednesday, a judge in NY described the president's Twitter account as a public forum, and said blocking Twitter users for their views violated their right to free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, said in an email: "We respectfully disagree with the court's decision and are considering our next steps".

"The position the Trump administration is taking is that the president is entitled to block people, and that the court lacks the ability to order him to do otherwise", Mr. Jaffer said.

That interactive space is susceptible to analysis under the Supreme Court's forum doctrines, and is properly characterised as a designated public forum, judge Buchwald said. He has blocked many critics from his account, which prevents them from directly responding to his tweets.

"In light of social media's importance to modern life, President Trump's practice of blocking individual users robs them of a singularly valuable opportunity to make their speech heard", said the brief filed by the Georgetown University Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.

"A declaratory judgment should be sufficient, as no government official - including the President - is above the law, and all government officials are presumed to follow the law as has been declared", Buchwald wrote.

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The people who sued were blocked for tweets that made fun of the President or opposed his views, the suit said.

The president has more than 52.2 million Twitter followers and has tweeted more than 37,600 times since opening his account in March 2009.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, said he thinks the case was wrongly decided and expects it to be reversed.

Twitter has always been dogged by questions about how far its users' right to speech may extend.

"That is insane", he said.

She noted that another defendant, Daniel Scavino - the White House's social media director and an assistant to the president - can unblock those followers without the president needing to do it himself.

Twitter Inc. was not involved to the lawsuit and declined to comment. Hamza Shaban is a technology reporter for The Washington Post.

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