Twitter

Is There a First Amendment Right to Follow the President on Twitter?

Blocked Trump critics argue that his personal account is a "designated public forum" from which they cannot legally be excluded because of their views.

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Twitter

It will surprise no one familiar with Donald Trump's attitude toward criticism that people who make negative comments about him on Twitter may find their access to his account blocked. If Trump were an ordinary Twitter user, he would be well within his rights to shun anyone who offends him.

But Trump is not an ordinary Twitter user. He is the president of the United States, and he regularly uses his @realDonaldTrump account—which has about 32 million followers, 13 million more than the official @POTUS account—to trumpet his accomplishments, push his policies, attack his opponents, and complain about his press coverage.

In a letter they sent the president yesterday, lawyers for two blocked Trump critics argue that the way he uses his personal account makes it a "designated public forum," meaning that banishing people from it based on the opinions they express violates the First Amendment.

"This Twitter account operates as a 'designated public forum' for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional," write Jameel Jaffer and two of his colleagues at Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute. "We ask that you unblock them and any others who have been blocked for similar reasons….When the government makes a space available to the public at large for the purpose of expressive activity, it creates a public forum from which it may not constitutionally exclude individuals on the basis of viewpoint….The government may impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions in a designated public forum, but it may not exclude people simply because it disagrees with them."

Jaffer, formerly the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, represents Holly O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) and Joe Papp (@joepabike), both of whom were recently cut off from @realDonaldTrump after writing disparaging tweets about the president.

On May 28, the day O'Reilly was blocked, she posted a GIF of Pope Francis glancing at Trump, then looking away with what looks like a troubled (or possibly exasperated) expression on his face. "This is pretty much how the whole world sees you," O'Reilly wrote. Last Saturday, Papp needled the president about a pro-Trump rally held near the White House that day: "Why didn't you attend your #PittsburghNotParis rally in DC, Sir? #fakeleader" The next day, Papp discovered he had been blocked.

Those were hardly the first negative comments about Trump from O'Reilly or Papp, and some of the earlier ones were less temperate. On May 16, responding to a presidential tweet urging investigation of "LEAKERS in the intelligence community," O'Reilly wrote, "YOU ARE THE LEAKER you moron. Shut your giant piehole and maybe we'll live to see another president." As Jaffer et al. note, "It is easy to understand why you and your advisers might have found our clients' posts to be disagreeable. Even if the posts were scornful and acerbic, however, they were protected by the First Amendment."

Even Trump would (I hope) concede that much. But he has not tried to censor or arrest people who say mean things about him on Twitter. Instead he has done the Twitter equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears while chanting, "Nah nah nah. I can't hear you!"

In doing so, however, he has prevented O'Reilly, Papp, and other blocked users from following him, viewing his tweets while logged on to Twitter, using Twitter's search function to locate specific Trump tweets, sending direct messages to him, viewing the names of accounts he follows or that follow him, and directly participating in comment threads about his tweets. Thus these Trump critics have been effectively excluded from a designated public forum created by the president.

Or so say Jaffer and his colleagues. Others are less sure. "It's a novel and ambitious argument and certainly in the public interest, but also feels like a tough sell," Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, told The Wall Street Journal. "Is the president's Twitter account, established well before he was elected, a public forum where interactive free expression is expected or more like a newsletter, where the communication is all one way? I do think municipalities that establish Facebook pages and invite citizen input are in fact establishing public forums, but I'm not sure that Donald Trump's brief bursts of opinion are the same thing."

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh likewise thinks the issue is not nearly as clear as Jaffer suggests. Volokh argues that @realDonaldTrump seems more like a personal project than a government program: "My inclination is to say that @RealDonaldTrump, an account that Trump began to use long before he became president, and one that is understood as expressing his own views—apparently in his own words and with his own typos—rather than some institutional position of the executive branch, would likely be seen as privately controlled, so that his blocking decisions wouldn't be constrained by the First Amendment."

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107 responses to “Is There a First Amendment Right to Follow the President on Twitter?

  1. My copy of the constitution has freedom of speech, but not freedom of reading.
    And certainly nothing about a ‘designated public forum’
    Haters gotta hate.

    1. Fine. But, this president uses that forum to make public announcements. If he wanted the ability to restrict people from following his tweets than he shouldn’t have become president. This maybe isn’t a true First Amendment concern, but I’m not willing to give the president of the United States a pass on avoiding unwanted criticism.

      1. “But he has not tried to censor or arrest people who say mean things about him on Twitter. Instead he has done the Twitter equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears while chanting, “Nah nah nah. I can’t hear you!””

        Actually, I would say that he has done the equivalent of throwing a reporter out of a press conference for repeatedly standing up and yelling, “Fuck you, you nazi asshole.”

        There is no explicit right for everyone in the country to directly receive every message/word that the president sends/says. There is also no limitation on the person’s ability to express their opinion. It is just the removal of one specific forum for expressing that opinion.

        Fuck Trump, but this is a big fat nothingburger.

        1. It is clearly our national CEO’s prerogative to decide who has the right to receive his electronic messages, as it is the prerogative of any university department chairman to decide who has the right to read “satires” regarding him and his “name.” Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “parody” case? See the documentation at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

          1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

            This is what I do… http://www.webcash10.com

      2. Presidents have sent letters to newspapers. Papers aren’t obligated to post every letter sent to them,

        Presidents make speeches on TV. TV stations aren’t obligated to provide every person time to speak on air.

      3. They can still follow his tweets, they just need to be not logged in.

      4. A twitter account is personal, you choose who follows you and who doesn’t. Furthermore, Trump’s tweets aren’t official announcements. Official announcements are given in front of journalists, with the seal behind him.

        1. Plus, it’s funny to see these whiney, shrill, self-important progtards cry like angry babies about this. Fuck them all. The lot of them are lucky Trump has t put them in prison for sedition. Which he should.

          1. Be careful of what you wish for, that tack can work both ways.

    2. “and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

      1. @POTUS is government. Petition away!

        @realDonaldTrump is not.

        Why is this so difficult?

        1. Agreed that @realDonaldTrump is a non-story.

          @POTUS could actually be an interesting discussion. To what extent does the owner have the right to curate the comments and ban people without running afoul of first amendment? I’m sure democrats would eagerly delete comments and ban people for referring to Obama as an n-word. Republicans would similarly want to delete/ban for calling Trump a nazi.

          Essentially, the one who is setting the limits for what would be acceptable speech is also a government official who would be the target of critical speech on that platform. Basically, I think you have to either let anybody say whatever they want or you have to acknowledge that deletion/ban on that single platform doesn’t amount to unconstitutionally limiting speech.

        2. Exactly. The executive branch is not formally posting on an executive branch account. Trump is using his name on the account, not the public office, and posts as Donald Trump.

          Next.

    3. Clearly we need to update the 1st Amendment with the times. The right of the people to follow the President on Twitter shall not be infringed.

      1. Other than the reasonable restrictions of having to get a permit from the local sheriff and pay a $200.00 fee each year, after passing a background check, and being fingerprinted. And if you want an assault reader’s permit, more fees, and suspension of the fourth amendment.

  2. How about the fact that Twitter owns the platform? How is this any different than when Trump gives a speech, protestors showing up and claiming a right to heckle and interrupt and ask questions from the audience? Twitter’s got terms and conditions and one of its functions is that you can block anybody you want, make your account as open or private as you want – refuse to do business with any customers you want for any reason you want, as it were. Sure, it would be nice if we all had our freedom of association recognized in that same way, refuse to bake cakes for gay Nazis if you want, but there’s a principle involved here.

    1. And of course, as libertarians, it’s that freedom of association we ought to be focused on, not that ‘designated public forum’ bullshit where Twitter’s rights suddenly vanish the minute they engage in commerce.

      1. This is Reason, where freedom of association is only important if they like your group.

        1. Reason posts articles all the time that defend Constitutional liberties for those who hold views at every corner of the political spectrum.

        2. But you got to comment, nobody stopped you or deleted it, so what’s your point?

      2. The public forum doctrine has got zilch to do with whether anybody’s engaging in “commerce.”

  3. Who is worse,Trump or his enemies? Discuss..

    1. I’m leaning towards Trump being worse, but only because he currently has the power as POTUS to fuck a lot more people’s lives up than his enemies. His enemies aren’t better people, and in many cases are actually worse then the pussy grabber in chief (which is quite a feat), but for the most part you can ignore them and what they say and do.

      1. you don’t consider Trump an improvement over Obama? Really? I’m not saying he isnt deficient in a number of areas, just that he’s way better than Obama. Which is what Trump’s enemies basically are. A bunch of global communist shitbags.

        1. I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s a trade off. One is obviously better than the other depending on the issue.

        2. He might have been if he hadn’t back peddled on most of his issues. The only two things I’ve seen him try to accomplish are Obamacare and taxes. What about Wall Street and not getting more involved with wars in countries we have no business in? Of course Obama did too, but it only got worse.

          1. I’m thinking that maybe (some) people go into the office with the best of intentions, but one that first week settling in find that unnamed man in the dark suit sitting in the Oval Office, all alone, asking him if he loves his family, and passing a picture of Dealey Plaza across the desk. Then tells him how things are going to be.

  4. First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    How does Trump blocking people on Twitter violate any part of that?

    1. He isn’t

      He is not Congress nor has he signed into law anything respecting an ” establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      1. He is not Congress

        So it’s the new libertarian position that the executive branch has unlimited power to violate people’s First Amendment rights so long as it doesn’t do so in response to a law passed by Congress?

        1. Whose speech has he infringed upon?

        2. Your ?logic is lacking. This whole “issue” is nothing more than a few betas upset they couldn’t sit with the cool kids at lunch. No one is silencing them. If you are in Twitter, you most likely have seen some of these crazies troll a thread with 20-30 tweets, one after another, full of nonsense.

          Maybe these reporters shouldn’t interact with the president and, I don’t know, just report what he says/does, without trying to interject themselves into every issue?

    2. “and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      Can’t address the Donald if he blocks you.

      For the record I am with Eugene Volokh on this that it isn’t that simple but the lawsuit does have an interesting premise.

      1. That implies he has to answer all calls on his personal phone, and read all his personal mail, no circular file allowed.

      2. Twitter is the ONLY means to address the President?

        The White House doesn’t accept mail? Email?

      3. Can’t address the Donald if he blocks you.

        Are you kidding?

        http://www.wikihow.com/Contact…..ted-States

        Certified mail? FAX? E-mail? petitions.whitehouse.gov?

        1. petitions.whitehouse.gov

          ^ This.

          I don’t think “petitioning” the president via his personal Twitter account is the most effective/serious-minded manner of going about effecting political change.

          I have to agree with the sentiment being expressed by many here that the principle that would require Trump to never block people from his Twitter account would be akin to saying that the First Amendment requires him to publish his personal cell phone number so that people can “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          His hitting “mute” on a screaming mob is not denying anyone’s right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

          1. Yeah, they have no argument at all.

            They are pretending that every instance where the president speaks must allow every person who wishes to speak equal time. This is clearly not the case.

            There is no prior restraint here. No government censorship. Heck, this isn’t even in the category of rude behavior.

            I seriously doubt that these same people would be arguing that Obama was required to allow O’Bannon and his alt-right crowd to fill his twitter feed with their comments.

            If he was having people banned for having political positions that he found distasteful, that might be a different story. But somehow I think that in actual cases where people have been banned from twitter for their politics, these folk would have been signing the petition to have them banned.

            1. > I seriously doubt that these same people would be arguing
              > that Obama was required to allow O’Bannon and his alt-right
              > crowd to fill his twitter feed with their comments.

              You have not one scintilla of evidence that darth bannon (or anyone else) was blocked from Obama’s twitter feed.

              1. Progressives are the Sith. Not conservatives.

              2. Your user name is spelled wrong. It should be Derp 24/7.

        2. > petitions.whitehouse.gov?

          According to its front page,

          “100,000 Signatures in 30 Days

          Get an official update from the White House within 60 days.”

          I know the petition for him to release his tax returns (started on 20 JAN 2017) had over 700,000 signatures before 20 FEB (it has over 1,000,000 now), but it still has not received a response 90+ days later. So it’s just more lies from the orange buffoon, as far as I’m concerned.

          1. Your user name is spelled wrong. It should be Derp 24/7.

      4. You also can’t randomly walk into the Oval Office and address the president either. So?

    3. How does congress exempting certain (but not all) churches from paying taxes NOT violate 1A ?

      1. Your user name is spelled wrong. It should be Derp 24/7.

  5. And if his “critics” were honest, they’d admit they’re simply arguing that ‘Trump is a big meanie’. See Tony, here, for example.

    1. Well he is a ‘big meanie’. And Tony is an idiot. Someone can hold both positions at the same time

  6. @realDonaldTrump account is the private account of Donald Trump who is President.
    @POTUS is a Twitter account under contract between the USA and Twitter for official Presidential use.

    Does it really take a team of lawyers to not see the difference?

    1. The problem isn’t whether it takes lawyers to see the difference, it’s whether President Trump sees the difference.

      So far, evidence points to him either not knowing and/or not caring about the difference.

      And when he does that, he obfuscates the intended differences, which calls into question the appropriate way to treat them.

    2. @realDonaldTrump account is the private account of Donald Trump who is President.

      Huh, during the election people kept telling me that using private accounts to get around restrictions on the official accounts was tantamount to treason.

      1. Because that’s in any way a valid analogy.

      2. *facepalm*

        I used to have more respect for you, even if I disagreed with some of your comments, but that right there, is Tony level stupid. I really hope that was intended as sarcasm.

        There’s a huge fucking difference between the president using a private Twitter account to communicate with his “followers” and diverting all of your government emails, including classified ones, to a private unsecured server in order to get around FOIA requirements. The most obvious being that the former is completely legal while the latter would land any of us plebes in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

        1. It was partially sarcasm, but I think the difference between the two is a difference of degree, not kind. When people are seriously making a “Well, it’s okay on @realDonaldTrump, just so he doesn’t do it on @POTUS”, they’re basically making a “Well, it was just yoga appointments and birthday party emails” type claim.

          1. …except you are able to read Trump’s tweets.

            Not so much Hillary’s emails.

            That was really, really terrible of you.

          2. When he issues an executive order or conducts some other official government activity via @realDonaldTrump, you’ll have a compelling argument there. But since there’s no established mechanism for him conducting official public business via Twitter, I think you’re going to be waiting a while.

            The “it was just yoga appointments and birthday party emails” argument would have been completely reasonable for Clinton & her followers if she (or her server admin) had put in place a system that automatically archived public business (or, if I were the server admin, required her to move emails to a specific “not public business” folder to keep it from being archived as an official record).

          3. but I think the difference between the two is a difference of degree, not kind.

            No, it’s not. Hillary kept her E-mails private to prevent scrutiny of her dealings as a government official, she used them for government business, and sent around classified information. Hillary was perfectly free to use private E-mail for private or political business.

            Donald Trump blocking trolls on his public Twitter feed isn’t keeping anything secret. Nor has he used his Twitter feed for government business. He is using it for self-promotion, venting, and politics, all of which fall outside his government function.

            1. Agreed. There is no overlap.

              Hillary was 100% seeking to avoid sunshine laws that require recordkeeping and disclosure of such communications.

              Trump is doing exactly the opposite. He’s posting all manner of drivel for anyone and everyone to see. It is pretty much as opposite of avoiding FOIA requests as you can get.

  7. But he has not tried to censor or arrest people who say mean things about him on Twitter.

    YET.

    Instead he has done the Twitter equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears while chanting, “Nah nah nah. I can’t hear you!”

    And stuck his tiny fingers in all his other followers’ ears, as they can no longer see the genius comebacks of his detractors in the replies.

    1. And stuck his tiny fingers in all his other followers’ ears, as they can no longer see the genius comebacks of his detractors in the replies.

      Based on what I’ve seen of Twitter, “genius” isn’t exactly the first adjective that comes to mind for anything that ever gets posted by anyone.

      1. It’s a platform for twits, hence the name.

  8. Blocked Trump critics argue that his personal account is a “designated public forum” from which they cannot legally be excluded because of their views.

    Why can’t they do what Tulpa does here and create new Twitter accounts whenever Trump blocks them? Seems like that would be an easy work-around, plus it could have an unexpected upside. Trump would have to spend so much time blocking all the new Twitter sock-puppets that he might not have time for anything else. At the very least it would drive him nuts trying to keep up.

    Of course, doing that robs them of the raison d’etre: bitching and moaning about Trump.

    1. Twitter has a rule that prohibits the creating of secondary accounts to get around a block.

  9. If Eugene Volokh says it’s not a free speech issue, the smart money is that it’s not a free speech issue.

  10. When the government makes a space available to the public at large for the purpose of expressive activity, it creates a public forum from which it may not constitutionally exclude individuals on the basis of viewpoint

    The government didn’t create the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account though. If these people were being blocked from the @POTUS Twitter account they would probably have a point.

    1. They’re not saying the government *created* the public space, just *made it available*. Like when the government gives you permission to open a bakery, they’re making it available for public use and you aren’t allowed to block anybody from buying a cake. It’s not like it’s *your* bakery, you didn’t build that. It’s the community’s bakery now, boyo, you’re merely extended the privilege of operating it. As long as you pay for the privilege and follow all the rules the public feels fit to impose on your privilege, of course. Better get your mind right about who’s the servant and who’s the master here.

      1. Oh, yeah, I forgot we don’t have rights anymore. My bad.

    2. The government didn’t create the @RealDonaldTrump Twitter account though.

      It didn’t create it, but has it been repurposed? Trump clearly puts out statements on policy, current political events, and other public affairs issues through the account. If he only put stuff about what TV shows he likes, what sports teams he’s cheering for, his favorite recipes, etc. on the account it seems like it would be much more clear cut.

  11. There’s a certain irony that people you KNOW support “deplatforming”, disinviting, rioting at, and shouting down opposing views, are upset at getting blocked.

    1. This is a brilliant point.

  12. Does freedom of speech include coercion to be listened to?

  13. You can still tweet at him using his @ tag, it just won’t show up in his mentions.
    You can still read his tweets by logging out of your account.
    You can still create a new account.

    This is such a ludicrous non-issue.

    This is like if someone claimed their rights to free speech were being violated by the police because they can’t speak from the exact spot the police officer watching their rally is standing. It’s true you can’t do that, but if you move one step in any direction…

  14. So, these lawyers say it is unconstitutional to ignore a lunatic? Intriguing theory.

    1. It is a waste of time. We should be focusing on legal strategies to lock progressives up for practicing communism.

  15. Considering how easy it is for blocked people to see Trump’s tweets, it’s difficult to cite a harm done here. Perhaps there’s an argument for a Twitter thread being a “public forum,” but in that analogy a reply is akin to shouting your question or comment among a mob of others in the forum shouting their comment. (and again, easy solution by signing up a new unblocked account) It is not the only way to (attempt to) contact the President, nor is there any right to engage him any time he speaks. There is no talk-back segment in the weekly address.

    1. One salient fact: 35 million followers.

      So your “mob” in the public forum shouting out their questions and comments is 35 million strong. Does anyone think this will result in being heard? Or are they merely pissing into the wind.

  16. The White House press secretary has noted that the Trump’s tweets are official statements. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/06/…..tatements/

    1. As are weekly radio addresses. Ergo, radio stations should be forced to air the voices of everybody.

      Presidents speak at colleges. Not permitting anybody to speak at a college at all is a violation of rights too, right?

      1. Total analogy fail twice over:

        (1) Unlike your radio hypothetical, Twitter isn’t being forced to do anything in this suit. These users are still subject to its terms of service and can be terminated if they violate them. The closer analogy would be if the President somehow had the power to selectively jam or interfere with otherwise legal radio broadcasts from other stations such that he didn’t have to even risk hearing the broadcasts as he dials past the station.

        (2) Unlike your college hypothetical, a speaking event at public place is going to be subject to reasonable time, place, manner restrictions, mostly based on space and security issues that have zero applicability to Twitter. Precluding the President from blocking these users imposes effectively no cost on Twitter and presents no meaningful security problems.

        1. (1) Unlike your radio hypothetical, Twitter isn’t being forced to do anything in this suit.

          ..except do away with blocks that they have allowed — hell, encouraged — for years now.

          The closer analogy would be if the President somehow had the power to selectively jam or interfere with otherwise legal radio broadcasts from other stations such that he didn’t have to even risk hearing the broadcasts as he dials past the station.

          Except that the blocked account could be accessed by, you know, not logging in. Or just setting up a new, free account.

          (2) Unlike your college hypothetical, a speaking event at public place is going to be subject to reasonable time, place, manner restrictions, mostly based on space and security issues that have zero applicability to Twitter.

          You’re aware that the quoted Tweets violate the TOS of Twitter. Trump is enforcing rules Twitter does not choose to.

          Would the users feel better if he simply ignored them without a block? There is zero obligation for Trump to listen to them.

    2. So is anything he says at a press conference. But that doesn’t mean he has to recognize you to ask him a question.

      1. Except that courts have recognized that press conferences are limited public forums that people can be appropriately excluded from, mostly based on space and security issues that have zero applicability to Twitter.

  17. Blocked Trump critics argue that his personal account is a “designated public forum” from which they cannot legally be excluded because of their views.

    There isn’t a First Amendment right to access Twitter at all. Does the name “Milo Yiannopoulos” ring a bell to any of these Trump critics?

    Heck, even the indispensable Iowahawk has been suspended in the past, and he is about as inoffensive as you can get (unless you’re one of the most thin-skinned leftards imaginable).

    1. There’s no First Amendment right to access Twitter if Twitter as a private entity denies you access. The question is presented here because Trump is a government official and he’s one imposing the block on these users, not Twitter. It’s just like it’s not a First Amendment violation if private security guards throw you off of private property because the private property owner doesn’t like what you’re saying, but it is potentially a First Amendment violation if police throw you off of private property because a government official doesn’t like what you’re saying even though the private property owner is fine with you being there. (Note that there’s no argument presented that these users have violated Twitter’s terms of service and their accounts seem to still be open.)

      1. The question is presented here because Trump is a government official and he’s one imposing the block on these users, not Twitter.

        Trump hacked functionality into Twitter that wasn’t already there?

        It’s not like the block function was coded by Trump and added against Twitter’s wishes.

        (Note that there’s no argument presented that these users have violated Twitter’s terms of service and their accounts seem to still be open.)

        You’re aware the block feature is Twitter’s…not Trump’s, right?

      2. The question is presented here because Trump is a government official and he’s one imposing the block on these users, not Twitter.

        Trump hacked functionality into Twitter that wasn’t already there?

        It’s not like the block function was coded by Trump and added against Twitter’s wishes.

        (Note that there’s no argument presented that these users have violated Twitter’s terms of service and their accounts seem to still be open.)

        You’re aware the block feature is Twitter’s…not Trump’s, right?

      3. The question is presented here because Trump is a government official and he’s one imposing the block on these users, not Twitter.

        Trump hacked functionality into Twitter that wasn’t already there?

        It’s not like the block function was coded by Trump and added against Twitter’s wishes.

        (Note that there’s no argument presented that these users have violated Twitter’s terms of service and their accounts seem to still be open.)

        You’re aware the block feature is Twitter’s…not Trump’s, right?

        Using a private entity’s tools on that private service violates the First Amendment, how?

        You’re aware the Feds didn’t run Twitter? I know Twitter is about as poorly run as the Feds, but it’s not actually run by the Feds.

  18. Seems like the at POTUS account is the designated public forum.
    The at real Donald Trump is just to scare the liberals and prod companies and countries to do what he wants.

    I wish I were a judge — I’d rule on most of these cases in 10 minutes, then go golfing.

  19. As far as I am concerned, all accounts on Facebook are private accounts until Facebook designates terms otherwise that one has agreed to.
    Facebook is not government site nor a government sponsored site as far as I know.

    The nature of these accounts should always be determined by Facebook or the author/sponsor of the site – not the government.
    It is not public property.

    1. The flaw is this theory is how easily such an arrangement can be gamed by public officials who are chummy with particular business owners, which is why the public forum doctrine arose in the first place.

      1. Private entities have no rights to their own rules on their own platform?

    2. Who said anything about facebork? This article was about twitter.

      1. Your user name is spelled wrong. It should be Derp 24/7.

  20. Hah… @POTUS has only 19 million followers now?

    .
    It had over 80 million followers when Obama was president, and I think I can count on 1 hand the number of times I saw a tweet from that account signed BO, meaning it was typed in and sent by him personally.

    .
    Pretty-sure twitter automatically rolled over the followers on 20 JAN… that means 60 million+ users manually UNfollowed the orange buffoon so their feed wasn’t polluted by his endless stream of fake news and outright lies.

    1. Yup, better to be followed by the empty suit Jug Eared Jesus, President Mom-Jeans, huh?

    2. Your user name is spelled wrong. It should be Derp 24/7.

  21. Just as a matter of public policy, he should mute them instead of blocking them.

    They should be just as free to read and comment on Trump’s tweets, but he does have the right to control who shows up in his own thread.

  22. I don’t see where they have any more of a right to his twitter account than they do a private email account.

    1. The progs should count themselves lucky Sessions hasn’t gone after them for sedition.

  23. I’ve been ranting that Trump still thinks he’s a private citizen. He acts like it and he talks like it. He doesn’t deserve the great office to which he’s been elected (or however) to.

    He is still in control of his business, still making money, putting highly unqualified people into jobs that they cannot do. Until he accepts his role, he will continue to have problems and more people will resist him.

    1. The president is just another citizen, douchebag. A citizen who is supposed to work for us. Suck the cock of authority a little more.

      1. Right. I see this as just another front in the battle over just how different the president is from Joe Citizen. Personally, I think the president should have the same control over twitter as any other customer, and there needs to be some sort of board to decide what’s an Official Public Space or not.

  24. There are two parts to the case here: the first is that the blocked people can’t read what Trump tweets, the second is that they can’t reply to his tweets.

    The first is a non-starter, because his block doesn’t preclude them from reading what he says, since they can just log out (or not log in) and read his tweets.

    For the second, they can reply to his tweets on any platform they have access to. To claim that Trump needs to give them that platform is like claiming that a street preacher needs to let you use his microphone and loudspeaker to reply to him, because he’s talking in a public space. And for a more elaborate analogy, we can say that the microphone and loudspeaker have been loaned to the preacher by a third party.

  25. Twitter is not a public forum; how is this even up for debate?

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