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Federal courts stepping up to halt government censorship of their social media sites

Government officials who create social media sites to connect with their constituents but censor the comments of critics are finding federal courts frown on the practice. A New York court ruled that President Donald Trump violated free speech rights by blocking his detractors from his Twitter account. The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in January that when an official created a Facebook page for her office, she could not delete the comment of a critic in conflict with the First Amendment that bans viewpoint discrimination in public forums. The Fifth Circuit ruled that a Texas sheriff could not delete a comment on his Facebook page that he found objectionable.  (Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 13, 2019, by Camille Fischer)

A critic of Colorado state Senator Ray Scott sued in federal court on May 13 alleging that two years ago he blocked her on his Facebook and Twitter accounts. (The Denver Post, May 13, 2019, by Nic Garcia)

For background and news on the issue from the First Amendment Watch, click here.

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