Judge says Trump should try muting rather than blocking his Twitter critics


Near the close of the hearing, Buchwald suggested the lawsuit could be easily resolved if Trump agreed to mute, rather than block, Twitter users whose tweets he did not want to read. Critics both famous and not were swept up and cut off from the president's signature brand of social media use, and it didn't take long for First Amendment activists to file a lawsuit since, according to the White House, President Trump's tweets are official statements and the public has a right to see them.

Buchwald appeared skeptical of that argument, noting that the Twitter blocks can affect users beyond just those who are blocked.

During the hearing, Judge Buchwald asked Trump's lawyer, Michael Baer, if Twitter was any different from a town hall meeting.

Lawyers on both sides said they would consider Buchwald's suggestion. "I don't think it's a flawless solution, but it's far less restrictive", Fallow said. Users who have been muted by a certain account have no way of knowing it, because the feature only conceals their posts from the person who has muted them.

"This way he does not affect the interaction of the other constituents", she said.

Buchwald urged both sides to accept her proposed resolution rather than continue to litigate.

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In the same way you can turn on device notifications so you never miss a Tweet from your favorite users, you can now mute users you'd like to hear from less.

"It is just not like the public forum cases, where the microphone is turned off", he said.

Not only is Donald Trump the first American president to aggressively use Twitter, he's also the first to invite a possible constitutional crisis because of it. And the defense has stressed the fact that everyone who is blocked by the president can still view his tweets by logging out of their accounts, and that they still have many other ways to petition the government.

It can not be the case that any personal medium of communication created or maintained by public officials in their personal capacity is subject to an all-or-nothing state action analysis when that person later becomes an officer of the state.

Fallow argued in response that the president has placed an undue burden on the plaintiffs' speech by blocking them, which also has an impact on the comment threads provoked by Trump's tweets. "Over time, his account has become an important source of news and information about the administration - and about the president's disposition as well". "As to the muting, I think that is an option".