Trump should try muting rather than blocking his Twitter critics, judge says

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The Associated Press reports that a federal judge in Manhattan at a hearing today suggested that the president should perhaps silence rather than block his criticism on Twitter. The judge of Knight v. Trump encouraged the parties to reach an agreement, otherwise they ran the risk of setting a legal precedent that they would not like.
The Knight First Amendment Institute of Columbia University sued the president in July last year on behalf of seven Twitter users who were blocked by the president. The lawsuit argues that Trump's Twitter account is a "public forum" under the First Amendment Act, and that blocking critical voices imposes a restriction based on the point of view violating the First Amendment. In addition, blocking Twitter users theoretically prevents them from having access to official government communications. (The White House has confirmed that the president's tweets are official statements.)
Blocked users are still able to read the president's tweets when logging out of their accounts, and can link or capture their tweets to criticize them. However, they can not respond directly to Trump. On the other hand, as Judge Naomi Buchwald pointed out today, the president could also silence his critics. A silence means that offensive tweets are no longer visible to the muter, but the silenced account is still free to keep watching and responding to tweets.
Barring an agreement, the judge told the parties that he would soon make a decision.


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