Donald Trump sued for blocking people on Twitter

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Donald Trump has been sued by Twitter users that have been blocked by the president.

The lawsuit was filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute, a free speech group at Columbia University, after seven Twitter users claimed their accounts were blocked by him or his aides.

Legal papers say that as the president is a government official, he cannot bar people from the public forum where his uncensored tweets praise allies and attack critics.

Claimants say their accounts were blocked by Mr Trump, or his aides, after they replied to his tweets with mocking or critical comments, which amounted to White House attempts to “suppress dissent”.

They say the president cannot stop people engaging with him because he does not like what they say.

The claimants say their first amendment freedom of speech rights have been violated as being blocked stops them viewing or replying to message chains.

People on Twitter are unable to see or respond to tweets from accounts that block them.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer and the president’s social media director Daniel Scavino are also named in the lawsuit.

Mr Spicer said last month that Mr Trump’s tweets were considered “official statements by the president of the United States”.

The @realDonaldTrump Twitter account has 33.7million followers, while the official @POTUS account has 19.3million.

Mr Trump uses the social network to attack the media and make proclamations on foreign policy or intelligence, often using it first thing in the morning to set the US news agenda.

He tweeted earlier this month: “My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL.”

Announcements included his nomination of Christopher Wray as FBI director.

The lawsuit says: “The @realDonaldTrump account is a kind of digital town hall in which the president and his aides use the tweet function to communicate news and information to the public, and members of the public use the reply function to respond to the president and his aides and exchange views with one another.”

Mr Trump has reportedly contested 4,000 lawsuits in the last 30 years.

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