Could Trump Be Forced To Unblock Twitter Users?

A police officer, a songwriter and a surgeon who were blocked on Twitter by Donald Trump after writing critical posts are among a group suing the President.

A lawsuit has been filed by seven Twitter users who have fallen foul of the commander-in-chief.

They are joined by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in accusing Trump of trying to ‘suppress dissent’ after they criticized him on the social network.

The seven have been blocked by the President after voicing their criticism on Twitter

The seven have been blocked by the President after voicing their criticism on Twitter

All of the complainants say the decision to block them on Twitter means they cannot participate in public debate as effectively as they could before

All of the complainants say the decision to block them on Twitter means they cannot participate in public debate as effectively as they could before

Blocked: Writer Rebecca Buckwalter-Poz and anti-doping advocate Joe Papp are suing the President after being blocked on Twitter

Legal papers state: ‘In an effort to suppress dissent in this forum, Defendants have excluded—’blocked’—Twitter users who have criticized the President or his policies.

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE SUING THE PRESIDENT FOR BLOCKING THEM?

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University (@knightcolumbia) – An organization based in New York which that works to defend and strengthen the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.

Rebecca Buckwalter-Poz (@rpbp) –  A Washington, DC, writer and political consultant, who says she was blocked by Trump after a tweet about the administration’s links to Russia.

Philip Cohen (@familyunequal)  – A professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park

Holly Figueroa (@AynRandPaulRyan) – A political organizer and songwriter who resides in Mercer Island, WA.

Eugene Gu (@eugenegu) – A resident in general surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the CEO of Ganogen Research Institute, who lives in Nashville.

Brandon Neely (@BrandonTXNeely) – A police officer from Tomball, TX

Joseph Papp (@joepabike) – A former professional road cyclist and current anti-doping advocate and author who resides in Bethel Park, PA.

Nicholas Pappas (@Pappiness) – A New York comic and writer

‘This practice is unconstitutional, and this suit seeks to end it.’

The lawsuit also claims they are suffering ‘irreparable injury to their First Amended rights’ after they were blocked.

Writing in PacificStandard, Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza – one of the Twitter users blocked by the President, wrote: ‘Getting blocked has kept me from participating in public conversations in response to and about the president.

‘I can’t see or reply to Trump’s account, or see which of his tweets others are quoting and commenting on from my own account.

‘In sum, I’m prevented from talking to those who are responding to his tweets, learning their views, and sharing my own views.’

And she continued: ‘I’ve traveled and lived in countries where voicing dissent can have negative repercussions.

‘Not once had I ever thought I might have to fear losing rights for expressing my political views in the U.S. Feeling silenced and marginalized at home has shaken me.’

The suit says that the way Trump uses his Twitter account, it is a public forum under the First Amendment, and said tweets by the President are treated as ‘official statements’.

It states: ‘Because of their criticism of the President, these Plaintiffs have been prevented or impeded from viewing the President’s tweets, from replying to the tweets, from viewing the discussions associated with the tweets, and from participating in those discussions.’

The document continues to say that Twitter users ‘are now deprived of their right to read the speech of the dissenters who have been blocked’.

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