Donald Trump has around 65 million followers on Twitter, an account he often uses, among other things, to make important announcements that often affect people in different ways: just this Friday, for example, his tweets concerning the United States’ trade with China caused oil prices and U.S stock to drop down.
As his Twitter account has become an official platform thanks to these sort of announcements, it is no stranger to backlash of all kinds, backlash which the President often ignored by blocking the users he considered bothersome. However, back in May, a three-judge panel decided to keep to a lower court’s decision (taken in 2018) that, by blocking anyone on his twitter, Trump is actually violating their First Amendment rights.
“[T]he 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,” Circuit Judge Barrington Parker said in the court ruling. According to Parker, the President’s account counts as a White House official business account.
If Trump would continue to be allowed to block all his critics on his Twitter account, it would also allow other politicians to make important announcements on theirs and completely avoid any repercussions from the public that the announcements might create. Which, at the end of the day, would make them less accountable for their actions.
The President is adamant on challenging the ruling however and the Justice Department has filed the necessary paper for Trump, which demand a rehearing. They argued that the decision was “fundamentally misconcieved”.
The Justice Department also warned on Friday that, if the court ruling was upheld “public officials who address matters relating to their public office on personal accounts will run the risk that every action taken on that account will be state action subject to constitutional scrutiny.”