Editor's Pick

High court examines if social media critics may be barred by officials

The way officials interact with constituents on social media has been a point of contention in recent years. Now, the United States’ highest court will decide if they have the right to block their detractors from viewing their posts. The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments for Knight First Amendment Institute v. Trump, a case centered around former President Trump’s use of Twitter. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Trump blocked several people on Twitter and Facebook after they criticized his policies. Trump’s attorneys argued that since Trump controlled the network, it was a private forum and he had the right to disregard any rules or mute opposing voices. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, along with seven individuals, sued the former president for violating the First Amendment which allows everyone freedom of speech. The Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling will decide if the President or any other government official can legally block citizens from reading his/her messages. The ruling could have significant implications for how public servants interact with their constituents online. It could also open the door for new legislation surrounding First Amendment rights online, particularly for elected officials. At the moment, the court seems split on the issue, with it likely the vote will end up in a 5-4 decision. Legal experts suggest that the ruling could decide whether elected officials should treat their online interactions as a public forum. Should the court rule in favor of the plaintiffs, officials could be held accountable for violations of the First Amendment, unblocking their critics and granting them access to the conversations they are taking part in. No matter the final ruling, it will most certainly spark more discussion surrounding how a president and other elected officials should use social media. We can only hope that the Supreme Court will consider the rights of everyone and offer a fair and balanced ruling.

You may also like