From the American Bar Association
Public Officials: Beware Blocking Critics on Social Media
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is facing two lawsuits over blocking critics from her Twitter account, @AOC. The complaints were filed last week and allege First Amendment violations, and they came within hours of the Second Circuit’s opinion in Knight Institute v. Trump—in which the appeals court held that President Trump engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination when he blocked critics from his own Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
As Judge Barrington D. Parker, writing for a unanimous panel, put it: “[T]he First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.” Parker went on to conclude: “[W]e remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”
Read the complete article HERE
“The basic lesson from these cases is that once a public official opens a social-media account and uses it to interact in an official capacity with users, the account qualifies as a public forum under the First Amendment, and the public official may not exclude users on the basis of viewpoint.”
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