Twitter abandons free speech lawsuit vs US after government drops bid to unmask Trump critic

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 2:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 April, 2017, 2:25am

Twitter is dropping its free-speech lawsuit against the Trump administration over the government’s effort to unmask users critical of the president’s policies.

Twitter said in a court filing Friday, one day after it filed the case, that the US had withdrawn its summons to learn the identity of one of the so-called ALT handles purported to be the work of current and former federal employees who have slammed Trump’s policies.

“Because the summons has now been withdrawn, Twitter voluntarily dismisses without prejudice all claims against defendants,” the company said in the filing in San Francisco federal court.

Twitter fighting Washington demand to unmask anti-Trump users who are federal employees

The case had highlighted the administration’s sensitivity to criticism from within the federal bureaucracy on Twitter feeds that mimic those of government agencies.

When the official Twitter account of the National Park Service re-tweeted an image comparing the January 20 inauguration day crowd size to the larger one at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Trump personally called the acting park service director to complain, according to a Washington Post report cited in the complaint.

The park service temporarily shut down its Twitter feed, spawning the activation of a series of “rogue” alternative accounts managed by current or former government employees. The Trump administration’s summons sought data to determine the identity of those behind an account called, @ALT_USCIS.