Twitter Drops Lawsuit Against Trump Administration After Government Withdraws Demand to Unmask User

Social media giant cited First Amendment in abandoned suit

Last Updated: April 7, 2017 @ 11:59 AM

Twitter has dropped its lawsuit against the Trump administration following the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw its demand that the company reveal information about an anti-Trump account.

According to multiple media reports, the Justice Department told Twitter that the summons issued last month by Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection division for records identifying the user or users behind @ALT_USCIS — an account critical of Trump’s immigration policy — had been withdrawn.

Twitter’s suit was filed on Thursday in Northern California District Court, claiming the government tried to use a “limited-purpose investigatory tool” to unmask the owner of the account, which it argued would be a violation of the First Amendment.

“The rights of free speech afforded Twitter’s users and Twitter itself under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution include a right to disseminate such anonymous or pseudonymous political speech,” the suit read.

Following Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, anonymous Twitter feeds voicing concerns of more than a dozen U.S. government agencies started to pop up and seemed to challenge Trump’s views on a variety of political topics. The @ALT_uscis account features the acronym CIS, which refers to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The suit named Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, DHS secretary John Kelly, acting CBP commissioner Kevin McAleenan, and special agents Stephen P. Caruso and Adam Hoffman as defendants.

In a tweet on Friday, the anonymous account thanked Twitter for “standing up” to the Trump administration with its lawsuit.

“We want to thank @twitter and @aclu for standing up for the right of free anonymous speech. Thank you resistance for standing up for us,” the tweet read.

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