[Update at bottom!]
Just a few short years ago, we elected a president who took to Twitter to communicate his public policy positions (in between insults, incoherent ramblings, covfefe, and the like). Trump, never known to take criticism well, also made a habit of blocking users who disagreed with him, resulting in a First Amendment challenge that did not go well for him. “We also concluded that when the President creates such a public forum [on Twitter], he violates the First Amendment when he excludes persons from the dialogue because they express views with which he disagrees.” Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. Trump, 953 F.3d 216, 217 (2nd Cir. 2020). The Fourth and Eighth Circuits held similarly in similar cases.
But the right has far from an exclusive claim on censorship, as well as on the use of Twitter to communicate with the public. N.Y. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the man who ordered nursing homes to accept COVID patients to avoid using the USNS Comfort provided by Trump, resulting in many thousands of dead seniors, also likes to use Twitter, directly as well as through his staffers, including his right-hand-woman Melissa deRosa. After a year of regularly participating in public discussions started by the Governor and his staffers, today Melissa apparently decided she has had enough of my shit and blocked me.
When you take a public office and start creating public fora, you must have thick skin and accept that you’ll receive criticism (and that it will not always be polite!). My First Amendment right to be a part of the public debate has been curtailed, and I’ve written to Ms. deRosa to demand that she cease-and-desist from this unconstitutional behavior — or get sued.
Will update as things progress. [Update: I guess the C&D was well received… have been unblocked!]
This may be a solution. Each district for the House and Senate, the White House and various other heads of departments each has their own official account. When a person is elected, they take control of that account until they leave office. Those accounts can’t be banned, censored or anything else that would prevent posting info. That would apply no matter who is in office. If a person is elected and chooses not to use said account, they can disable it until the next person comes along.
Basically, those would be official Govt accounts controlled by the Govt. No elected or appointed official can post Govt info on personal accounts. That way their personal account remains their account to post pics of their pets etc.
Just a thought.
“right-and-woman” is a typo worth fixing I think!
It’s curious that a government official [creates a private forum and violates the First Amendment when he excludes persons from the dialogue because they express views with which he disagrees], but the private company providing the venue is exempt from first amendment violations when they ban users willy-nilly for any perceived infraction, or none at all.