President Trump cannot use his official account to block his critics on Twitter, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday. The ruling, which upholds a lower court decision, found that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked Twitter users critical of the presidency and deemed the practice discriminatory. “The 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,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote in the Tuesday decision. The ruling comes after the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University brought forward a 2018 lawsuit on behalf of seven people who had been blocked by the president on Twitter.
Parker, who noted that the White House has previously stated that Trump’s tweets are considered official statements, sided with the blocked users “that once the President has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with.”