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Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:11 PM

 

When politicians block people on Twitter does it violate the first amendment?

Last edited Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:10 PM - Edit history (1)

Edit: Some of you don't seem to understand how Twitter works, or just aren't reading the post, but blocking someone on Twitter makes it so the person you block cannot SEE your posts. Making it harder for a blocked citizen to gain access to the representatives public statements.

Tweets have become all but official press releases/public statements at this point. So does choosing who gets to view those statements constitute a violation of a person's right to express themselves? When a politician blocks somebody it is usually a response to that somebody offering a dissenting opinion, a view contrary to their own. So as the politician in question grows and grows their block list it effectively becomes a selection of who can and can't view information pertinent to the United States Government based on views, beliefs, and ideologies. Choosing who can and can't receive public information from their government, excluding those people from aspects of the government. I suppose state officials, congresspeople and senators would be able to get away with it by claiming they only want direct channels to their constituents, but I doubt federal appointees and office-holders would be able to do the same.

This is a very counter-clockwise view of the first amendment I know, many people would not immediately pick up on it, but I think it may apply nonetheless. Unless somebody can provide some kind of Supreme Court precedent that would refute my opinion (I'm sure people more scholarly will know one off the top of their heads and I'll have egg on my face).
Trump violated presidential record keeping laws by deleting Tweets, so the convergence between Twitter and federal law isn't so outlandish.

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Arrow 58 replies Author Time Post
Reply When politicians block people on Twitter does it violate the first amendment? (Original post)
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 OP
frazzled Apr 2017 #1
demmiblue Apr 2017 #2
Flaleftist Apr 2017 #6
demmiblue Apr 2017 #9
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #22
demmiblue Apr 2017 #34
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #35
LanternWaste Apr 2017 #3
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #4
Orrex Apr 2017 #13
Angry Dragon Apr 2017 #5
TXCritter Apr 2017 #7
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #8
melman Apr 2017 #10
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #11
melman Apr 2017 #18
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #21
TXCritter Apr 2017 #38
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #41
TXCritter Apr 2017 #44
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #52
Blue_Adept Apr 2017 #12
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #14
tallahasseedem Apr 2017 #27
Orrex Apr 2017 #15
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #16
karynnj Apr 2017 #17
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #19
karynnj Apr 2017 #23
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #26
Orrex Apr 2017 #25
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #28
Orrex Apr 2017 #30
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #37
Orrex Apr 2017 #47
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #51
Orrex Apr 2017 #58
RedWedge Apr 2017 #20
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #24
Orrex Apr 2017 #29
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #33
Orrex Apr 2017 #45
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #50
Orrex Apr 2017 #57
RedWedge Apr 2017 #54
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #55
Tanuki Apr 2017 #31
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #40
tallahasseedem Apr 2017 #32
Kaleva Apr 2017 #36
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #39
Kaleva Apr 2017 #43
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #48
Lee-Lee Apr 2017 #42
Jonny Appleseed Apr 2017 #49
TXCritter Apr 2017 #46
beachbum bob Apr 2017 #53
alarimer Apr 2017 #56

Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:15 PM

1. Originalist jurists will determine that the Founding Fathers didn't provide for Twitter

Which shows you why originalism is da bunk.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:16 PM

2. Why can't they view it?

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:34 PM

6. When you block someone on Twitter, they can't see your tweets.

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Response to Flaleftist (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:47 PM

9. They can if they log off, no?

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:13 PM

22. There's always a way to get around restrictions on free speech but that doesn't make them okay

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #22)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:24 PM

34. I made no value judgement, I just illustrated the fact that you are wrong...

people can see tweets even if blocked.

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Response to demmiblue (Reply #34)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:25 PM

35. But it's harder

 

Therefore it's a restriction.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:18 PM

3. Are the relevant sentiments the politicians express on twitter unavailable on any other platform?

Are the relevant sentiments the politicians express on twitter unavailable on any other platform?

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:20 PM

4. I don't see Steven King posting vines about mantaining Aryan purity

 



And I believe making information more difficult and inconvenient to access is still a violation. But idk. That seems to be the strategy that the TSA and airlines are employing towards Muslims to institute an unspoken unconstitutional travel ban.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:02 PM

13. What if they are unavailable on other platforms? What if they are not?

What if they are unavailable on other platforms? What if they are not?

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:32 PM

5. Blocking is censorship

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:36 PM

7. No. They are still able to tweet and have it seen by others.

 

The First Amendment offers no protection for people refusing to listen. It does not exist to protect us from each other, it exists to protect people from the power of the State.

If a newspaper refuses to print your editorial, that is not an infringement of your First Amendment rights.

If Twitter shuts off your account, that is not is also not an infringement of your First Amendment rights.

If Twitter shuts off your account because some politician called and used or threatened to use the power of the State against them unless they shut off your account, that might well be an infringement against your Free Speech. (As well as some other crimes)

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Response to TXCritter (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:43 PM

8. It's politicians; lit the state, doing the blocking.

 

It isn't refusing to listen, it's disallowing citizens to hear from "the state"'s representatives.

Idk if you know how blocking on Twitter works, but it makes it so you can't see the tweets of the person who blocks you.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:51 PM

10. but

 

it doesn't really block you. It blocks an account. So since you can make a new one, or log out and view anything you want...


you aren't prevented from doing or seeing anything.

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Response to melman (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 02:57 PM

11. It is making information harder to access and doing it knowingly towards certain

 

groups of people. Imagine if congresspersons banned Muslims from their town halls. Or democrats. Or people who specifically didn't vote for them. And imagine if who those bans applied to were arbitrarily decided by the congressperson, who stands at the entrance and does a visual inspection.

I'm not 100% certain it'd hold up in court as a violation, but it certainly violates the intentions of the amendment.

Edit: actually, imagine if C-Span turned to static in areas where Trump protests occur. That's the equivalent here.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:10 PM

18. What if C-Span....what? That makes no sense

 

But honestly, I don't think you're serious about this anyway. This thread has more than a hint of trolling to it.

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Response to melman (Reply #18)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:12 PM

21. Elaborate

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:28 PM

38. Limiting others from hearing your voice is never a Free Speech infringement

 

We aren't entitled to hear everything a politician utters.

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Response to TXCritter (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:31 PM

41. When it's deliberately public except for certain chosen minorities, I believe it is

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #41)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:35 PM

44. No it's not. It never is.

 

It may be a violation of some other law. For example, it may be a violate of the Equal Protection clause if a representative redlines a precinct and refuses to send a district newsletter to that district.

But it's not a Free Speech violation. It is never a violation the First Amendment to withhold speech from anyone by anyone at any time.

The First Amendment exists to protect the speech of citizens not force the speech of government.

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Response to TXCritter (Reply #44)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 04:01 PM

52. The speech withheld hinges on the speech delivered.

 

Utilize free speech -> get punished for that utilization by being restricted access to public information.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:00 PM

12. Things like this just make me want to give up DU entirely

I know, silly posts and less than critical thinking has been around for ages, but this kind of stuff just lowers an already lowered discourse.

Imagine saying it on a street corner or to friends and imagine the reactions.

"my representative isn't reading my tweets!!"

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Response to Blue_Adept (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:03 PM

14. That's not what the post says at all. The complete opposite actually.

 

And you talk about less than critical thinking...

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Response to Blue_Adept (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:18 PM

27. +1

It's getting ridiculous. This is definitely not the DU of the past.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:03 PM

15. When Pat Toomey doesn't return my calls, is he violating the first amendment?

Specifically, if I can't pay him the $60K that he charges people for his attention, then is he in violation?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #15)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:05 PM

16. That's not what the post says at all.

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:10 PM

17. No - the blocked tweeters can still tweet and anyone who wants to read their tweets can

They can also READ the politicians tweets - so they do get that info.

What they are doing is preventing these people from replying to them - or tweeting to them. Given that many people use twitter to spam their own view ON THE POLITICIAN'S tweet, I have no problem with a politician or anyone blocking someone who they do not want to speak to.

The first amendment gives you the write to speak - not the right to force others to listen to them.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #17)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:11 PM

19. "They can also READ the politicians tweets"

 

They can't and that's the crux of my entire argument.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:15 PM

23. They can if they are not logged into their account

The blocking usually happens because the person tweeted something to their tweets -- often things that were abusive. Not to mention, tweets are hardly official records - though they are public. I would imagine that many politicians have the full statement related to tweeted issues on their websites.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:18 PM

26. Tweets are official records and see post 24

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:17 PM

25. But that crux isn't true

Replies have demonstrated that "blocked" twitterers can easily see the tweets by the people who've blocked them, so your crux falls apart.

Does a politician's choice to use Twitter violate the first amendment rights of those who don't (or can't) use Twitter?



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Response to Orrex (Reply #25)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:19 PM

28. No because they aren't being targeted specifically

 

Just economically, and it's not deliberate based on their ideology.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #28)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:21 PM

30. You're not being targeted specifically, either

Your account is. Legally, factually and philosophically you are not your account, and your account is not you.

Blocking your account is not blocking you.


The crux of your argument falls apart.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #30)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:26 PM

37. That's sophistry

 

If my account issues death threats and threats of terror, I won't be held accountable?

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #37)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:42 PM

47. That question is not related to your original post

And you've asked another silly question.

If your neighbor hacks into your Twitter account and issues threats of terror, would you be held accountable for your neighbor's statements? Should you be? No, because you are not your account, not legally, factually nor philosophically.



Your attempt to dismiss this as sophistry reveals your awareness of the essential weakness of your argument.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #47)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:59 PM

51. Identity theft is a crime, yes?

 

But if the one who took your identity stopped you from receiving government information permanently, it would somehow be just?

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #51)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 05:31 PM

58. That question is not related to your original post

Q: Identify theft is a crime?
A: No shit.

Q: Stealing one's identity to prevent access to government information is just?
A: No. That's a nonsensical assertion that no one has actually put forth.

Also, there's nothing "permanent" about blocking your twitter account except that THAT twitter account is blocked. YOU (who, I must remind you, are NOT your twitter account) can easily access those precious, precious tweets via other accounts.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:11 PM

20. No.

If you log out of Twitter, you can see all public tweets.

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Response to RedWedge (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:15 PM

24. Say you follow 300 elected officials

 

You'd need to go to each of their individual pages to receive that public information. Making free speech more difficult is the same as violating the right to it.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:20 PM

29. That's a silly argument

If they tweet the information, it's not their responsibility to facilitate your personal, individual access to it. It's a broadcast medium, and if you're blocked then you have many other ways to access it. For that matter, they're also not obligated to make sure that your cable provider carries CSPAN.

If a politician knowingly makes a statement to a local newspaper and that paper publishes it but I can't buy that newspaper, is that a violation of my first amendment rights?

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Response to Orrex (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:23 PM

33. If the politician is an elected official and forces the newspaper's distributors to not sell

 

to you and those like you specifically, then yes.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #33)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:36 PM

45. But that has nothing to do with your Twitter hypothetical

Blocking your Twitter account is nothing at all like forbidding delivery of a newspaper to you.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #45)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:57 PM

50. Why not?

 

It seems rather apt.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #50)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 05:28 PM

57. Because you are not your twitter account

Frankly, you appear to be denying this straightforward and undeniable fact because, if you accept it, then you must accept that your OP falls apart entirely.

Blocking your twitter account prevents THAT twitter account from seeing the tweets in question. You can open another twitter account in less time than you've wasted on this thread.

Blocking your access to the newspaper prevents YOU from receiving the paper. You can't become someone else and thereby obtain the newspaper.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 04:28 PM

54. The right to free speech is not the right to hear other people's speech.

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Response to RedWedge (Reply #54)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 04:44 PM

55. They aren't people; they're representatives of the government.

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:22 PM

31. This is not a First Amendment issue. Re-read the First Amendment if you are in doubt.

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #31)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:30 PM

40. Trump's travel ban is unconstitutional even though it's not a law that congress passed

 

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:22 PM

32. No. eom.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:25 PM

36. You cant prove a negative

You ask others to refute your opinion but it is up to you to provide vthe proof that supports your claim.

What about the millions who don` t tweet or follow twiitter? Are our rights being violated because public information is being posted in a medium so many of us don`t use or even have access to?

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #36)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:29 PM

39. It's a citizens right whether they choose to utilize said rights.

 

Just because I don't want to book a venue and assemble a rally doesn't mean it's harder for me to do so. But if my congressperson told the venue not to book me and I needed to use an alias, that would be a restriction of said rights.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Reply #39)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:34 PM

43. You still havent provided evidence that your rights are being violated.

What part of the 1st Admendment applies to what you say? Your freedom of relgion, assembly, to petition and speech is not affected.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #43)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:54 PM

48. It depends on your definition of speech

 

Is it okay to be deliberately hampered from getting government information because of how you utilized your free speech?

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:34 PM

42. Of course not

 

Some people need to go back to middle school civics.

That's like saying if a politician takes you off their email list or snail mail list it's somehow a First Amendment violation, which of course it is not.

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Response to Lee-Lee (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:56 PM

49. That's false equivalency

 

An email list is not equivalent to the entire country. It's already a selective and private distribution method. Not public information.

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 03:39 PM

46. Your example may violate some OTHER laws but not the First Amendment

 

Look to the 14th Amendment (Equal Protection) or Open Records, Freedom of Information, etc.

You can't infringe your own right of Free Speech

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 04:20 PM

53. Simple answer is no as there is no right to free speech on a private

 

Platform..

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Response to Jonny Appleseed (Original post)

Mon Apr 10, 2017, 04:50 PM

56. If everyone on Twitter blocked Donald Trump, could he still tweet?

Let's try it and see. Let him scream into the void.

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