Donald Trump is being taken to court again. No, you did not click on an old story from one of the 134 instances the president was sued during the first few months of taking office – this time, the case involves Twitter, and people are demanding that if the politico can’t be banned from the social media platform, then he has no right to block others from seeing and interacting with his tweets either.
A New Case Against Trump
Here is a new proof for people who aren’t already convinced that we’re living in a bizarre-o world: the federal judge is now given a task to determine whether it is legal for President Donald Trump to block people from his social media accounts.
In January, Twitter released a statement, amidst immense pressure to ban the US President from the social media platform, in which it said that the public request was against the website’s policy and that Trump will probably never be blocked from using Twitter.
The decision came after an intense confrontation between Trump and North Korean leader in which the US president reduced the gravity of a possible nuclear confrontation between the two countries to a pointless Twitter feud to demonstrate his power – nothing new here.
The social media website defended itself by saying that it served as a blogging platform to promote global conversation, and banning an important world leader from expressing his views – no matter how controversial they may be – will prevent people from seeing crucial information on various national and international issues.
Twitter’s Disingenuous Stance
Of course, keeping someone of Trump’s stature away from social media seems highly unreasonable, but the company’s disingenuous statement created suspicions among critics who are speculating that the firm’s decision to keep Trump’s account active was mainly driven by their desire to earn more profit and user engagement. The company has been condemned for profiting off dangerous political feuds from a rather-impulsive political leader whose words could become catastrophic for world peace.
Critics argued that if Twitter was so concerned about the public not being able to see ‘important information’ and partaking in global conversations on the platform, then it should also take strict action against those political leaders who block users from seeing and engaging with their posts.
Trump’s Actions on Twitter Could Become Illegal
The first hearing of Trump’s new Twitter case was held recently where many plaintiffs accused the president of violating the first amendment rights to freedom of speech by blocking users from his official POTUS account on Twitter. Now, it is up to Naomi Buchwald, the district judge, to decide whether Trump’s Twitter account is a public or private matter.
If the judge decides to take state action against the President’s tweets through the 14th amendment, which clearly states that no government officials or politicians can interfere with the rights of individuals, then it might become illegal for the President to block any user from seeing or commenting on his tweets.
Arguments from Both Sides
Michael Baer, Trump’s Attorney, said that President Trump’s Twitter account is not a state or public property hence it cannot qualify for any state action. He further explained that the account was under President’s personal use and has nothing to do with his political role. The Justice Department spoke in Trump’s defense by saying that he wasn’t the first prominent political figure to publicly engage in personal conduct, but never has the state decided to interfere with such personal matters before.
The lawyer from plaintiff’s side put forth her argument saying that the use of President’s twitter accounts – both personal and official – are operated under official capacity which qualifies them for state action. It is true that Trump has used his personal account to discuss various state matters from heated talks with North Korea to threatening the FBI director James Comey.
Buchwald has offered a solution by suggesting that Trump’s team should mute Twitter users instead of blocking them. This way, everyone will be able to see the tweets by the President but those who have been muted will not be able to engage with them.