Over the course of 2019, controversy has existed regarding the legalities of elected officials blocking people on Twitter. The argument in favor of this cites that the ability to block users is simply a built in feature and part of having an account on social media. However, those who oppose the idea of elected officials blocking individuals maintain that these officials’ accounts are “public forums.”
This is a ruling which Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute made in regards to both President Trump and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The situation regarding the president’s Twitter account happened earlier this year, something which Trump has challenged in the courts.
Ocasio-Cortez is now in a similar camp, since The Knight Institute issued a letter, asking her to cease blocking dissenting individuals on Twitter.
Why Can’t AOC Block Twitter Users?
The First Amendment group maintains that since Ocasio-Cortez is a congresswoman, her Twitter account is a public forum which anyone has the right to view. In The Knight Institute’s letter, they noted that Ocasio-Cortez employs her account in order to “explain policy proposals, to advocate legislation, and to solicit public comment about issues relating to government.”