Federal court: Public officials can’t block users on social media due to viewpoint

Federal court: Public officials can’t block users on social media due to viewpoint
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[Ed. – This is an interesting development, but clearly it will have to go further than this ruling.  In the case cited, a county supervisor removed a Facebook user’s post on her page because it alleged corruption on the county school board.  That allegation is something the supervisor — in her capacity as a Facebook user — and Facebook itself, could conceivably be sued for hosting.  The right to express your viewpoint on a public official’s social media account cannot be absolute.]

Does the First Amendment bar public officials from blocking people on social media because of their viewpoint?

That question has hung over the White House ever since Donald Trump assumed the presidency and continued to block users on Twitter.The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University has sued the president on behalf of blocked users, spurring a lively academic debate on the topic. …

Davison v. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors involved the chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Phyllis J. Randall. In her capacity as a government official, Randall runs a Facebook page to keep in touch with her constituents. In one post to the page, Randall wrote, “I really want to hear from ANY Loudoun citizen on ANY issues, request, criticism, compliment, or just your thoughts.” …

Brian C. Davidson, a Loudon denizen, took Randall up on her offer and posted a comment to a post on her page alleging corruption on the part of Loudoun County’s School Board.

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