Twitter drops lawsuit against United States government

Twitter drops lawsuit against United States government

The Trump administration may have backed off its hunt for the identities behind a Twitter account critical of the president and his immigration policies, but that's not enough for some senators - including Republicans.

Twitter filed the suit to protect the identity of a user who runs the @ALT_uscis feed - an account that purports to tweet the thoughts of a federal worker from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The lawsuit began over an anonymous account, claimed to be run by federal immigration employees, that the USA government was looking to unmask. The account described its users to The Associated Press in February as employees and former employees of the agency. "The First Amendment requires the government to have a very compelling reason for unmasking someone's identity".

Legal experts said Twitter would have had a strong case had it gone to court, as the government had not provided compelling information on why it was necessary to identify the critic.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment beyond the court papers, and the company has declined to say whether it has received demands about other anti-Trump accounts. Other such "alternative" - or "alt" - accounts include @Alt_CDC for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and @AltUSEPA for the Environmental Protection Agency. "Thank you resistance for standing up for us".

The Justice Department told Twitter on Friday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has withdrawn its March 13 summons, "and that the summons no longer has any force or effect".


Twitter said the "defendants have not come close to making any of those showings".

"CBP must ensure that any properly authorized investigation does not disregard the rights to free speech enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution", they wrote in the letter Friday.

In 2012, the company fought back against a court order compelling it to turn over basic user information and tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Twitter filed the suit on Thursday with a United States district court in San Francisco, Efe news reported.

In 2014, Twitter sued the USA government (under President Barack Obama) seeking to publish its full "transparency report" outlining government requests for information.

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