Can Blocking Someone on Twitter Be Unconstitutional?

By Samantha Grant

Legal scholars at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute are threatening to sue the government after Donald Trump has continued to block users on Twitter who mock the president.

Twitter is a public forum for people to speak freely about people, issues, etc. By blocking users who seem to upset Trump, the First Amendment Institute’s lawyers claim that Trump is violating the First Amendment.

In a letter to Trump, the lawyers stated:

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

However, Ken White, a First Amendment litigator, makes the point that blocking is not necessarily a way of preventing someone from speaking as the information is still out there, those who blocked it just cannot see it.

That leads to the argument on how social media speech rights can vary when a social media platform is used as a public forum. 

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