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Can You Be Sued for Blocking Someone on Twitter? Perhaps

Twitter LogoCan you really be sued if you block someone on Twitter?


If you’re an elected official in the US government, that is.

Back in 2018, Donald Trump was sued for blocking users.  A Federal judge ruled that Twitter is a “designated public forum” and Trump was not allowed to block individuals.  Worth noting that the Twitter account in question was @POTUS, official Twitter account of the U.S. President.

Back in 2019, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was sued by another official, Jewish Brooklyn assemblyman Dov Hikind, who she’d blocked.  The court made her unblock him.

And today we have a new case.  Comedian/provacateur/attention-seeker trolled comedian/provacateur/attention-seeker Cortez by shouting at her outside the Capitol.  She responded by blocking him, and now it’s in court.

The first question you’re probably asking yourself is: people still use Twitter?  Let’s move past that.

The second question is: don’t people have the right to block people?  They do.  If Trump or Cortez had a personal account unrelated to their official roles where they tweeted about their cats, they’re be free to block anyone they want.

But when they’re “speaking as an official” on a designated official Twitter account, it’s government communications.  Blocking someone is akin to saying “we’re mailing information to every American except you”.

Of course, 99% of things pols post on Twitter is intended to burnish their own image and push their political agendas, not communicate important civic data to constituents.

A better question is why anyone follows politicians on Twitter…



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