US president Donald Trump is facing yet another lawsuit after seven Twitter users, aggrieved at having been blocked by the commander-in-chief, launched a joint suit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute (KFAI).
The free speech advocacy group at Columbia University picked up their case after the litigants contended that they were blocked by the president or his account managers, ensuring that they could not view or respond to subsequent tweets, after posting mocking or critical remarks.
This, the litigants contend, is tantamount to being barred from online political discourse and a naked attempt to ‘suppress dissent’, violating the First Amendment right to free speech enshrined in the American constitution.
Trump has amassed 33.7m followers of his @realDonaldTrump account with the official @POTUS account drawing 19.3m courtesy of the president’s penchant for making policy announcements on the hoof while tweeting.
KFAI executive director Jameel Jaffer said: “The First Amendment applies to this digital forum in the same way it applies to town halls and open school board meetings. The White House acts unlawfully when it excludes people from this forum simply because they've disagreed with the president.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has previously said that all such tweets ought to be considered ‘official statements by the president of the United States” and they are even being officially archived.