Should elected officials be allowed to block people on social media?

07/13/2017 10:47 AM

A lawsuit has been filed against President Donald Trump and some members of his staff for blocking people on Twitter.

NPR reports that the suit, filed Tuesday, was filed by seven people who have been blocked from Trump’s account. The plaintiffs include the Knight First Amendment Institute, which accuses the White House of suppressing dissent by blocking Twitter users who criticize the President or his policies.

The suit cites a statement by White House staff that deems tweets from the president’s personal account as official statements. Additionally, the suit cites the recent Supreme Court opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina that called Twitter and Facebook “perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”

Back in June the Courier Journal obtained public records showing that Governor Matt Bevin has blocked approximately 600 accounts from his Facebook and Twitter pages.

A spokesman for the governor told the Courier that the Bevin administration reserves the right to block users who post obscene material or “repeated off-topic comments.”

Those filing the lawsuit against the President assert that an elected official’s social media accounts are public forums and therefore protected by the First Amendment. However, those on the other side of the argument believe there are limitations on constituents’ engagement with their elected representatives.

Join the discussion on this topic.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.