Can US Politicians Legally Block People on Twitter?
American civil liberties groups want politicians to stop blocking people from their social media accounts.
And those politicians include President Donald Trump.
The American Civil Liberties Union, known as the ACLU, filed a lawsuit against the governor of the state of Maine. The group also sent warning letters to the congressional members from the state of Utah.
That comes after the ACLU filed lawsuits against the governors of Kentucky and Maryland in early August. In July, a free speech organization connected with Columbia University in New York City sued President Trump.
The president often uses Twitter to communicate with the American people. But some Twitter users say they have been blocked by Trump for sending tweets he did not like.
Those people can no longer send messages to Trump on Twitter.
That action raises questions about what elected officials can do on their social media pages.
In the past, politicians may have held public meetings to learn the concerns of voters. Now, however, they use Facebook and Twitter to have online conversations with voters.
Anna Thomas is a spokeswoman for the ACLU of Utah.
She said voters see their representatives as available on Twitter and Facebook.
"They're hungry for opportunities to express their opinions," she said. "That includes people who disagree with public officials."
The officials targeted by the lawsuits and warnings so far are all Republicans.
They say they are blocking people who post "hateful and violent content," "spam" and "off-topic comments."
Matt Whitlock is a spokesman for Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator from Utah. He said people are only blocked after they violate rules.
Whitlock said Hatch's Facebook page should not be used as a platform for "offensive content or misinformation."
Katie Fallow is a lawyer at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York City. Her organization filed the lawsuit against Trump last month.
She said politicians who choose to use social media "can't pick and choose who they hear from."
U.S. courts have not heard cases like these before. But one legal expert said the free-speech advocates like the ACLU probably will be able to make a stronger case than the politicians.
Erwin Chemerinsky is the head of the law school at the University of California – Berkeley. He said the officials may be able to block followers only if they are blocking supporters and critics alike. "It's got to be content-neutral," he said.
While the question of whether politicians can block people from their social media pages may seem minor, one expert says it is quite important.
Amanda Shanor works for the Information Society Project at Yale University's Law School. With more of the political discussion happening online, she said, "it's more important that we know what these rules are."
I'm Dan Friedell.
1.social media 社交媒体
We have all witnessed the power of social media.
2.known as 被称为
In Los Angeles, the neighborhood known as Watts erupted into riots.
3.no longer 不再
She no longer feared that they should misunderstand her.
4.public meeting 公众集会
We hold weekly public meetings.
1.He said people are only blocked after they violate rules.
violate rules 违反规定
Can they be allowed to violate rules and regulations at will?
Others violate rules and regulations in various ways for their own convenience.
2.They're hungry for opportunities to express their opinions," she said.
be hungry for 对...渴望
Susan was certainly hungry for a life different from the one she had made for herself
Leonidas 'family had been poor, he went hungry for years.
美国公民自由联盟（ACLU）起诉了缅因州州长 。该组织还向犹他州的国会议员发出警告 。
在此之前，美国公民自由联盟在8月初起诉了肯塔基州和马里兰州州长 。7月份，与纽约市哥伦比亚大学有关的一家言论自由组织起诉了总统特朗普 。
总统特朗普经常通过推特与民众沟通交流 。但是一些推特网友表示，因为发布了一些总统反感的推文而被拉黑 。
过去，政客可能会举行公众集会以了解选民的关注点 。而现在，他们通过脸书和推特与选民在线交流 。
安娜·托马斯（Anna Thomas）是犹他州美国公民自由联盟的发言人 。
马特·惠特洛克（Matt Whitlock）是犹他州参议员奥林·哈奇（Orrin Hatch）的发言人 。他说，只有违反规定的网友才会被拉黑 。
凯蒂·法洛（Katie Fallow）是纽约市哥伦比亚大学奈特第一修正案研究所的律师 。上月，其所在的组织对特朗普发起诉讼 。
美国法院之前没有遇到过类似案件 。不过一位法律专家表示，像美国公民自由联盟这样的言论自由倡导者比政客们更能折腾 。
欧文·凯莫林斯基（Erwin Chemerinsky）是加州大学伯克利分校法学院的院长 。他指出，官员拉黑网友的同时也要屏蔽相同数量的支持者 。他说：“余下的言论才能不偏不倚 。”
阿曼达·萨诺尔（Amanda Shanor）在耶鲁大学法学院的信息社会项目工作 。她说：现在网上的政治讨论越来越多，“了解这些规则就愈加重要 。”