Can a public official block Twitter users who post criticisms of their political views?

Answer: No, according to a new federal court ruling.

by / May 25, 2018

In a decision announced Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that public officials may not block Twitter users because they expressed political views that said public official disagrees with. This ruling is the final verdict in a case brought against President Trump in July of last year, after he blocked several users on Twitter for expressing disagreement with his politics.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyers from Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven users who were blocked. They argued that the president’s blocking of them violated their First Amendment rights. The ruling overturned the U.S. Justice Department’s defense that the First Amendment rights of the president supersede the plaintiffs’. This case could become an important milestone in the growing discussion about how public officials should use social media and what they can and cannot do on these platforms.