Nov 5, 2019

AOC settles lawsuit and apologizes for blocking critic on Twitter

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) apologized for blocking the Twitter account of a former Brooklyn assemblyman as she agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Per the New York Daily News, Ocasio-Cortez was scheduled to testify in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday in the case, brought by Dov Hikind in July — days after a federal appeals court made a landmark ruling that President Trump violated the Constitution in blocking critics on Twitter.

  • The ruling set a precedent that any elected official — from a local mayor to the president — who blocks a constituent on Twitter could be found guilty of violating that constituent's First Amendment rights, Axios' Sara Fischer notes.
"I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account. Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them. In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind."
— Ocasio-Cortez statement to news outlets

What he's saying: Hikind said on Twitter the outcome was a "great victory not only for me, but for citizens and free speech everywhere!"

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in August that she had blocked fewer than 20 Twitter accounts "for ongoing harassment."

  • YouTuber and NY-11 Republican Congressional candidate Joey Saladino tweeted in July that he had also filed a suit against the freshman lawmaker after she blocked him.
  • He tweeted on Monday, "Hopefully this means she must unblock me as well. Unfortunately for me, I had several lawyers who had to drop out of my lawsuit due to the extreme controversial nature."

Go deeper: Trump's unexpected 1st Amendment legacy

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Twitter plans to purge inactive accounts

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter is warning its inactive users — those who haven't logged on in over six months — that their accounts will be deleted unless they sign in by Dec. 11, The Verge first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters, via Axios' Ina Fried: By deleting accounts, Twitter could hurt its overall metrics as well as the follower counts of individual users. Dormant user names could also become available to people who want to make more frequent use of the service.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

John Bolton claims White House refused access to his Twitter account

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton returned to Twitter on Friday with a series of cryptic posts and a claim that the White House refused to grant him access to his personal Twitter account.

Why it matters: House Democrats have sought his testimony in the ongoing impeachment inquiry because he is considered a key witness in the Ukraine investigation. While there's online speculation his tweets could be tied to that, it's also worth noting that he has a forthcoming book about his time in the Trump White House.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 22, 2019

Twitter pauses plan to delete inactive accounts

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter said Wednesday it was putting on hold a plan to delete inactive accounts amid concerns that accounts from deceased users would be swept up in the purge.

Why it matters: While it's great to see Twitter clearing out the accounts of living people who aren't using them, Twitter also represents an important record of those no longer here.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019