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The implications of freedom of expression on government twitter accounts

The implications of freedom of expression on government twitter accounts
Published on: 09 August 2017
Published by: LexisPSL
  • The implications of freedom of expression on government twitter accounts
  • In the US, Twitter is considered a public forum that is supposedly protected by the First Amendment. Are there similar laws and legislation in place in the UK for social media platforms?
  • Can the content posted by official accounts, particularly officials such as Theresa May, the government or the Home Office, be considered official statements? If so, does blocking public users from viewing these accounts interfere with their democratic rights?
  • What is the effect of deleting material on Twitter or social media platforms posted by official accounts?
  • With social media playing an increasing role in politics with officials/politicians using it as a primary means of communication, do such accounts require new rules and laws in order to align with other legislation?
  • Are there any legal grounds to challenge an official’s decision to block members of the public?
  • How do you see this area of law developing in the future?

Article summary

TMT analysis: A lawsuit in the US argues that President Trump’s Twitter account is a ‘public forum for speech by, to, and about the President’ and that critics who were blocked from his account have therefore had their constitutional rights violated. Christina Michalos, barrister at 5RB, considers how similar legal issues might be dealt with in the UK. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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